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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Listening to Drumming

By which I mean not how you should listen, but how you could.

I hope that soon it will not be a novelty to play music that is mostly for percussion instruments. We’re getting to a point where we evaluate content.

The first gesture of Drumming seems blatant, but it is the first ambiguity.

Phasing is a machine-age method, but its results are ancient: canon.

All of Drumming is melodic and harmonic.

After the first phase has occurred, there are now millions of motivic possibilities. Reich allows it to loop so you have time to hear some of them.

The drummers, singers, whistler, and piccolo player suggest a few musical phrases that exist within that texture. You may also hear some that they do not play.

Any division of 12 can be heard as the correct pulse.

Any part of the rhythm is a valid downbeat. Once phases have occurred, any part of any player’s rhythm is also a valid downbeat.

There are no downbeats.

Large-scale organization is by timbre and register, not by inherited forms.

In Drumming, the human voice should emulate the percussion instruments as closely as possible.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

I will now listen to Drumming.

I feel like the cadence of your writing is beginning to emulate Cage. Just sayin'...enjoyable.

See you soon!

Adam said...

Nathan,

Totally! I was reading "For the Birds" yesterday. It was also kind of a self-conscious homage to Reich's own writings from the 60's and 70's.