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Re: Kundun

<<Anyway!  I needed to point out something about Philip Glass' music with
respect to looping.  The only looping is from the compositional standpoint,
and not because of any technology.  To see an orchestra play his work is
something else, I imagine - the Ensemble alone looked like they shed quite 
lot of sweat at the Kitchen, Mr.. Glass playing keyboards also, and
conducting using accentuated nods of his head, which sported a bushy cloud
of hair (then).  They were playing it all, man.  However, it Wasn't IMHO
'looping' as most of us on this list know it.  More like a compositional
'repeat', but then I know not much of music composition in the
parochial-classical sense. :)  Anyone?  Is 'repeat' the correct musical
term?  I *know* it's not 'loop'. :)>>

Ok, I'm sure I'm not the only "classically" trained musician here, but I'm 
one who checked my e-mail three times today, so I guess I get first crack 
the official explanation of all this stuff. Mr. Glass is what's called a
Minimalist composer. Other famous Minimalists are Steve Reich (composed
"Electric Counterpoint",  performed by Pat Metheney) and John Adams 
"The Death of Klinghoffer", and "Nixon in China", as well as the Minimalist
landmark "In C"). 

The basic idea of Minimalism in music is to compose peices with a minimal
amount of motivic material--just a couple little ideas, or hooks. The 
from the piece comes from the very gradual and subtle change introduced to 
piece over time. (Make no mistake--these pieces are composed, there is no
improvisation involved.) Glass, for example, tends to create change in his
pieces through additive and subtractive processes--adding a note to a 
or taking one away. (If this idea doesn't make sense in print, just listen 
his music--you'll know what I mean.) Listening to these pieces is very much
like watching clouds move across the sky, in a good way.

Minimalism, by it's very nature, involves a LOT of repetition (repetition 
certainly a viable term here). In this way it is sort of like looping.
Certainly people who can listen to looped music and think it's interesting
would probably relate to Minimalist work, at least on some level. 

The movies Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqatsi (I'm pretty sure on the spelling of 
two) are excellent introductions to the work of Philip Glass, as there are
really stunning visual accompaniments to the music. Other pieces to check 
would be "In C" by John Adams (a piece in which several players play 
little fragments of music in the key of C), and "Piano Phase" by Steve 
"Piano Phase" is pretty cool. Basically, two pianists play the same 12 note
repeated pattern, starting in unison. One player then speeds up ever-so-
slightly, until their pattern has shifted one note ahead of the other
player's. This goes on until the faster player has come all the way around 
pattern to play in unison again. You can imagine that it's pretty hard for 
"steady" player to keep an even tempo. Anyway, the piece takes around 
minutes to play all the way through, and it's really cool. When played 
you can hear all these crazy sub-patterns and cross rhythms in the "in
between" parts. I've been trying to play it on guitar, with the old JamPig
playing the steady, but the pattern is a bit un-guitaristic (poor me! I'll
have to practice...).

Drew W.