The course explores process music–music organized by the unfolding of various mathematical or mechanistic procedures–as defined by Steve Reich’s “Music as Gradual Process.” The seminar centers upon Reich’s process music, placing it in the context of its intellectual and musical precursors, the process and minimalist music of his contemporaries, and the subsequent generations of composers who built on Reich’s foundation. The course will develop analytical tools to both define the processes that composers use in their music and to explore the particular relation between the musical materials (melodic, rhythmic) a composer chooses and the processes to which those material are subject. Reich’s process music and its techniques will serve as both a lens and mirror to examine and reflect upon precursor repertoires, including the contrapuntal music of Bach, isorhythmic motets of the middle ages and their cyclic counterparts in the music of Messiaen, serial procedures of the 1950s, and Ghanaian ensemble drumming. Contemporary musicians/composers to be explored as lecture topics and student projects will include Riley, Glass, Tenney, Lang, Tom Johnson, and Radiohead.
The Class: Type: seminar; weekly 3-hour meeting
Requirements/Evaluation: based on analysis and composition projects, and a final paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: Mus 202
Enrollment Preference: Music majors
Distributions: Division I;