More Writing Experiments

I’ve still been messing around with Steve Reich-ian compositional techniques. I’ve tried it now, with varying success, in multiple formats: a quintet with two horns + rhythm section, a septet with three horns + rhythm section, a percussion quartet (marimbas and vibraphones), and an 18-piece “jazz orchestra.”

Most of the writing has incorporated elements of what Reich calls “phasing.” The piece will be centered around a particular melodic/rhythmic fragment, which is then displaced by a beat or half a beat in some instruments, forming various rhythmic pulses. Reich has multiple good examples of this, but I think Clapping Music is the best introduction because it’s the purest form of the technique.

I’m now starting to explore other techniques in this sort of “minimalist” vein, mainly additive and subtractive melodic fragments (à la Music for 18 Musicians) and that thing where you transcribe the pitches of someone’s speaking voice (like in Reich’s Different Trains). I don’t really know what I’m doing so it’ll be a miracle if something listenable results from these experiments, but hey: that’s jazz. And if Different Trains isn’t jazz, I don’t know what is.

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