(Roughly) Daily

“I find C major to be the key of strength, but also the key of regret”*…


Riley in C


Composer Terry Riley wrote In C in 1964 for an open-ended ensemble: “a group of about 35 is desired if possible but smaller or larger groups will work.”  Often cited as the first minimalist composition (though earlier works from folks like John Cage and La Monte Young seem to have pretty strong claims), In C consists of 53 short, numbered musical phrases, lasting from half a beat to 32 beats; each phrase may be repeated an arbitrary number of times.  Remarkable things can result….

As one can see for oneself at Tero Parviainen‘s (@teropa) In C site:

Play your own unique version of Terry Riley’s “In C with the help of five automated bot performers.

Every bot plays the same sequence of 53 short musical patterns. Each bot will keep repeating the same pattern until you decide it should move on to the next.

Over time, different musical and visual combinations will emerge…

Give it a whirl.

* Bob Dylan


As we celebrate the complexity that can arise from simplicity, we might recall that on this date in 1824 Beethoven’s Ninth (and final) Symphony, Chorale, premiered in Vienna, with “lyrics” by Frederich Schiller (part of his “Ode to Joy”); Beethoven’s chorus concludes:

Be embraced, ye millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Be embraced,
This kiss for the whole world!
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods!

Facsimile of Beethoven’s manuscript for “The Ode to Joy”


Written by (Roughly) Daily

May 7, 2020 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: