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Steve Reich b 1936 Steve Reich as an early pioneer in tape music and American minimalism has established himself as one of the foremost composers of our time Following studies in philosophy at Cornell University 1953-7 Reich turned to composition first with Persichetti at Julliard 1958-61 then with Luciano Berio and Darius Milhaud at Mills College 1962-3 His music is characterized by a strong steady pulse and strictly diatonic and tonal harmonies He is typically grouped together with other first generation minimalist composers such as Phillip Glass and La Monte Young and more recently with younger composers such as John Adams The music is deeply American in its roots with an unrelenting pulse and short repeating melodic figures often compared to rock-and-roll and be-bop However like other minimalist composers Reichs music is also largely influenced by extra-European forms and techniques generally viewed as a response to the largely academic elitist climate of new music in the 1950s and 60s Reichs early works were created in the early 1960s at the San Francisco Tape Music Center These tape pieces such as Its Gonna Rain 1965 and Come Out 1966 are the earliest examples of phasing one of Reichs most used and most well known techniques 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 This process was later incorporated into several pieces for traditional acoustic instruments or instruments and tape such as in Piano Phase 1967 and Violin Phase 1967 In addition to the initial process of phasing Reich also introduces into Violin Phase the notion of found or resulting patterns new melodic figures created from the overlapping voices of the original theme This technique was further explored in the largely popular and influential Drumming of 1971 In 1970 Reich set out on an intensive study
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