Posts Tagged ‘steve reich’

By Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When you think about it, the concept of music notation is pretty weird. Imagine if Andy Warhol had received commissions not for paintings, but rather for paint-by-number templates, to be realized by each art interpreter on their own canvases. Of course, we all know why music developed a notation system, but a recent email exchange with French composer Sasha Zamler-Carhart reminded me of the importance of not taking our practices for granted. Assumptions are baked into every aspect of music notation, often layered one on top of the other, and they color the kinds of music we can make.

Any notation system is about trade-offs: certain elements are emphasized over others for the sake of not overwhelming our human minds with their finite capacity for detail. After all, you could theoretically employ waveform print-outs as music notation, but that’s way too much detail to be useful in most performance contexts. By necessity then, the priorities of your practice inform its notation. But as soon as your notation exists, it throws its priorities right back in your face and informs your practice, more or less to the same extent. (more…)

Painting of Niccolo Machiavelli

I am currently reading the very interesting 48 Laws of Power, which is sort of an updated version of Machiavelli’s controversial work but with a modern perspective. I started thinking, becoming a world-renowned composer is a process not unlike overthrowing a medieval princedom, so what would Machiavelli’s advice be to young 21st-century composers?

So moral judgment cast aside, a blatantly careerist approach to becoming a composer. And naturally, none of this has anything to do with music. (more…)

Daft Punk press photo

I’m going to write a few posts that are mini-composition lessons based on non-classical music. Composers study 18th-century counterpoint, serialism, and lots of other classical forms—but what can we learn from the music that the vast majority of people living today actually listen to?

So to start things off, Daft Punk’s “Technologic,” which is very tightly composed and epitomizes a few key principles. (more…)