Reich Analysis File - The Parker E

Report
Parts and Layers
 Electronic Counterpoint is built up in layers
 There are 7 pre-recorded electric guitar parts and two bass
guitars
 The live guitar part is performed along with the recorded
parts
 The texture gradually builds up in section A, with the guitar
parts entering in the following order:
Guitar 1, Live guitar, Guitar 2, Guitar 3, Guitar 4, Bass
guitars 1 and 2, Guitar 5, Guitar 6, Guitar 7
 The piece is divided into 2 main sections (AB).
 These main sections are then subdivided into 4 smaller
sections, each defined by changes in key and texture.
Section A1: Bars 1-23 0.000.42
 Begins with Guitar 1: Motif 1:
1 bar ostinato
Section A1: Bars 1-23 0.000.42
 Bar 2: The live guitar builds up motif 1 using additive melody, but it is
one crotchet behind
 Bar 7: Guitar 2 enters with the same motif as the live guitar
 These 3 parts together create phase shifting
Section A1: Bars 1-23 0.000.42
 Bar 10: Guitar 3 builds up ostinato 1 using additive melody/ note
addition
 The ostinato is displaced by five and a half crotchets
Section A1: Bars 1-23 0.000.42
 Bar 16: Guitar 4 plays ostinato 1 displaced by two and a half crotchets
 Reich calls this a’ four part guitar canon’
 Canon: one voice repeats the part of another, like an
echo, after a given duration
Bars 1-19 summarised
 Guitar 1 starts with motif 1
 Each guitar then plays motif 1 but starting at different points so
they are out of sync (phase shifting)
 The live guitar and guitar 3 build up their motif using additive
melody
Section A1: Bars 1-23 0.000.42
 When all the parts have
entered, the live guitar starts
to play the resultant melody
 The piece is in 3/2 time with
a clear triple meter
 Hints at the key of E minor
 Resultant Melody: A new melody
is heard when a variety of parts
each play their melodies at the
same time
 Triple Meter: a primary division of
3 beats to the bar, usually indicated
by 3 (simple) or 9 (compound) in
the upper number of the time
signature
Section A2: Bars 24-35 0.431.05
 Bar 24: Bass guitars enter
 A two bar bass ostinato is gradually introduced, starting with the first bar
and adding the notes until it is played in full by bar 33 (additive melody)
Section A2: Bars 24-35 0.431.05
 Key of E minor becomes definite
 Bass guitars are panned to the left and right speakers to balance the
sound
 Live guitar continues the resultant melody
Section A3: Bars 36-66 1.052.05
 Bar 36: Live guitar introduces
strummed chords
 Has a dramatic effect on texture:
introduces a percussive sound that
cuts across the rest of the parts
 Bar 40: Guitar 5 plays C, Bm E5 (same
as live guitar)
 Bar 52: Guitar 6 plays C, D, Em
 Bar 64: Guitar 7 plays C, D, Bm
Section A4: Bars 36-66 1.052.05
 Live guitar and guitars 5-7
are all playing by bar 64.
 Because they are played at
different times in the bar, a
new rhythmic counterpoint
is introduced and can be
heard as distinct chords
 Live guitar continues to play
chords, interweaving with the
rhythms of guitar 5-7
 Counterpoint: When there is more
than one independent line
happening at the same time in a
piece of music, we say that the
music is contrapuntal. This can
also be called polyphony, or you
can say that the music is
polyphonic
Section B5
67-73 2.06-2.16
 74-81 2.16-2.31
 Live guitar returns to playing
 Bar 74: Change of key to C minor.
a resultant melody part
Signals the start of section B
 Texture the same as section 4
Section B6: 82-89 2.32-2.46
 Key shifts back to E minor
 Time signature changes to
12/8 in all but guitars 1-4
 Because not all instruments
change, this is not obvious
when listening
 Bass part plays a new
ostinato
 Bar 86: Time signature shifts
back to 3/2 and bass ostinato
changes back to ostinato 2
 Bass 1 is inverted and adds
one additional note
 Inversion: Turning intervals upside
down to create a mirror image
Section B7
90-97 2.47-3.01
 98-113 3.02-3.32
 Return to C minor (Similar to  Bar 98: Return to E minor
section B5)
 Time signature continues to
change every 4 bars
 Shifts in key and time signature
become more frequent, building
tension
 Bar 106: Guitars 5-7 and bass
parts fade out
Coda: 114-140 3.32-4.24
 Bar 114: Texture returns to 4 part canon of ostinato 1
in guitars 1-4
 Live guitar plays resultant melodies
 Shifts in key and metre continue till bar 129 when it’s
made clear the piece will end in E minor
 Ends with a crescendo to a final E5 chord played in
all 5 remaining parts
Important Points
 The piece is basically in E minor, but Reich keeps the
listener guessing right until the bass guitars make it obvious
in bar 33. This is called tonal ambiguity: keeping the key
uncertain
 Texture is built up gradually and helps to define the structure
 Once all the parts have been introduced, the texture is quite
constant, but with clever use of panning and interweaving
rhythms it always seems to be shifting
 Not strictly phasing as the parts stay out of sync, separated
by the same distance throughout
Key Questions on ‘Electric
Counterpoint’
1. Describe the texture of the first section (bars 1-23)
2. What is the term used to describe a repeated motif?
3. What instrument enters at the start of the second section? (Bar 24)
4. What is the tonality of the piece when this instrument enters?
5. There are three strummed guitar parts. What studio effect has been
used to help separate the parts?
6. What other instruments have been separated out using the same
effect?
7. The live guitar part plays a melody derived from the notes played in
the recorded parts. What is the term used to describe this?
8. Why do you think this piece is called electric counterpoint?
Key Questions on ‘Electric
Counterpoint’
1. Describe the texture of the first section (bars 1-23)
It begins with a sparse texture, with one guitar, gradual
building up until there are several (5) layered parts. The
parts are imitative, building up a 4 part canon with the live
guitar part playing a resultant melody just before 0.42. It is
mostly contrapuntal/polyphonic.
2. What is the term used to describe a repeated motif?
Ostinato/ Loop
3. What instrument enters at the start of the second
section? (Bar 24)
Bass guitar
4. What is the tonality of the piece when this instrument
enters?
(E) Minor
Key Questions on ‘Electric
Counterpoint’
1. There are three strummed guitar parts. What studio
effect has been used to help separate the parts?
Panning
2. What other instruments have been separated out using
the same effect?
The bass guitars
3. The live guitar part plays a melody derived from the
notes played in the recorded parts. What is the term
used to describe this?
A resultant Melody
4. Why do you think this piece is called electric
counterpoint?
- Written for electric guitar
- Texture is mostly contrapuntal
- All but one of the tracks was recorded on tape
- Makes use of studio effects

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