Sam Pottle’s theme song for “The Muppet Show;” the feeling of breaking the thousand measure mark in a piece (without repeats); Rodney Lister’s thoughts, voiced to me almost ten years ago, about humor, proportion, and Messiaen; music groups on Facebook (example: “If being a Music Major were easy, we’d call it Your Mom!”); how simultaneously essential and swept-under-the-rug ear training is and has become; the Met’s slightly obnoxious new policy for buying standing-room tickets (must buy day-of); goofy fictitious opera/composer pairings (example: “Pippy Longstocking” by Brian Ferneyhough); the injustice Oscar (in the pic) dealt “The Good Shepherd;” good and bad movie-sex music, constitution of; the end of the world (example: “Legally Blonde: The Musical”); where are good, challenging, undergraduate-level analytical articles about Steve Reich?; how much I’m looking forward to seeing my students once again next week: things I’ve been thinking about posting about, but haven’t. So far.

Steve Layton wonders about things unusual in the Composers Forum; Lawrence Dillon and ICE just got done heating things up down in North Carolina. Don’t forget Ian Moss Tonite.


See you all around,

3 thoughts on “The Heap”
  1. David, there’s an in-progress textbook by one of the profs. at UCincinnati, Coll.-Cons. of Music with a section on Reich that digests a couple of the major analytic approches (incl. set theory & beat classes) & gives an analysis of “Violin Phase” that’s both interesting and pretty accessible. The book is “Understanding Post-Tonal Music” by Miguel Roig-Francoli. As I said, it’s still IP, but you might drop Prof. Roig-Francoli a line (don’t have an e-mail on me, but search and it’ll come up).

  2. Hey — thanks. We reach Reich in my class in May. Definitely will check some of this out by then.

  3. Ian– If you’re out there reading this, sorry I can’t make it tonight — important family obligations. Hope you rock the hizouse.

    David — I don’t really follow the music theory journals, so there may be undergrad-appropriate Reich articles in abundance that I don’t know about, but my guess is that you’ve already looked and you’re not coming up with much? Which is a sad statement about the musicological treatment of minimalism. I can offer the following:

    Robert Fink’s excellent book _Repeating Ourselves: American Minimal Music As Cultural Practice_ has a large section in which he analyzes several Reich pieces. Aside from his use of the words “hermeneutics” and “teleology” they’re fairly accessable, and segments might be extracted. He looks in some depth at structural elements of “Music for 18 Musicians” and “Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ”.

    I also stumbled across this interesting list of articles. No idea which, if any, meet your specifications:,Steve/reiper

    I wrote a paper a few years ago analyzing Reich’s use of motivic cells in “Different Trains” which you’re welcome to if it seems at all like it might be useful. It’s mostly descriptive — “first he does this, then he does this” sort of thing — but I think I successfully prove my thesis which is that even though he uses a small number of musical cells he deploys them in a way where there’s very little verbatim repitition, i.e. almost no measure is the same as any other measure even though each instrument will play the same cell many times.

    I’ll be interested to hear what you come up with.

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