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Stephen Michael Reich Biography - Essay Example

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Stephen Michael Reich Biography

Reich has established himself as one of the foremost composers of our time, as an early pioneer in American minimalism and tape music. At the Cornell University in the year 1953 to 1957, he has studied philosophy, at Julliard, with Vincent Persichetti, he turned to composition in the beginning from 1958 to 1961, later at the Mills College from 1962 to 1963, with Darius Milhaud and Luciano Berio. Strict diatonic and tonal harmonies and steady strong pulse are general characteristics of Reich’s music. Recently with John Adams and earlier with other first generation minimalists like La Monte Young and Philip Glass are generally grouped with Reich. With an unrelenting pulse, short and repeating melodic figures his music is deeply American and is usually compared to be-bop and rock and roll. European forms and techniques have immensely influenced Reich’s music, like the other minimalist composers, which can be viewed as a reaction to the elitist and academic climate of music.At the San Francisco Tape Music Center, in early 1960’s Reich’s early works were created. The earliest examples of “phasing”, which is one of the most used and well known techniques of Reich are “It’s Gonna Rain” which was created in 1965 and in 1966 “ Come out” was produced. In this process, two tape loops are set into motion at two slightly different speeds, so that the tapes begin in unison and slowly shift "out of phase," creating a new set of harmonies and rhythms....
At the San Francisco Tape Music Center, in early 1960's Reich's early works were created. The earliest examples of "phasing", which is one of the most used and well known techniques of Reich are "It's Gonna Rain" which was created in 1965 and in 1966 " Come out" was produced. In this process, two tape loops are set into motion at two slightly different speeds, so that the tapes begin in unison and slowly shift "out of phase," creating a new set of harmonies and rhythms.
Later this process was integrated into numerous pieces for instruments and tapes or traditional acoustic instruments like in the Violin Phase and Piano Phase in 1967. Reich also introduced into "Violin Phase", new melodic figures that are produced by overlapping voices of the original theme, the notion of "found" or "resulting" patterns.
In the year 1971, in Drumming that was very popular and influential this technique was further explored. Reich intensively studied Ghanaian drumming in 1970, that indirectly or directly led to many of the procedures throughout his career and drumming.
Developed and re-orchestrated through four distinct sections this piece is a massive, hour long amplification of a single rhythmic cell. The piece begins by introducing the initial rhythmic pattern in a slow additive process. New harmonic and melodic patterns are created through phasing procedures and further build up and reduction, by doubling, first by female voice, and then by whistling and finally by piccolo these are brought to the fore.
Even though strictly diatonic however by more diverse harmonic language and noticeably faster harmonic rate of change, Reich's later ...Show more

Summary

The purpose of the present paper is to describe a biography of American composer who has specialized in the minimalist music style: Stephen Michael Reich. Reich’s music is a combination of process and repetition which creates music that is full of energy and liveliness…
Author : djaskolski
Stephen Michael Reich Biography essay example
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