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Rethinking Reich$
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Sumanth Gopinath and Pwyll ap Siôn

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190605285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190605285.001.0001

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Steve Reich’s Counterpoints and Computers

Steve Reich’s Counterpoints and Computers

Rethinking the 1980s

(p.239) 11 Steve Reich’s Counterpoints and Computers
Rethinking Reich

Twila Bakker

Oxford University Press

This chapter re-evaluates the role of Steve Reich’s 1980s Counterpoint series in the context of his reinvention as a venerated member of New York’s new music establishment. It aims to show how Reich's re-engagement with past compositional interests—now expressed in more conventional terminology—formed a significant step in facilitating his gradual transformation from outsider to insider. Running in parallel with Reich’s transition toward tradition was a significant change in the composer’s working methods through the use of computer technology, as found in works such as The Four Sections and Electric Counterpoint. An investigation into this important new development offers insights into how Reich has since then pragmatically incorporated digital compositional habits alongside previous analog ones, all while maintaining a secure foothold in the Western classical canon.

Keywords:   Steve Reich, Vermont Counterpoint, New York Counterpoint, Electric Counterpoint, e-sketches, sketch study, compositional technique, computer-assisted, digital technology, canonical

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