Terry Riley's In C Studies in Musical Genesis, Structure, and Interpretation | Robert Carl
Stephens Church, Belvedere. It is a response to the abstract academic serialist techniques used by composers in the mid-twentieth century and is often cited as the first minimalist composition.
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. Each musician has control over which phrase he or she plays: players are encouraged to play the phrases starting at different times, even if they are playing the same phrase. The performance directions state that the musical ensemble should try to stay within two to three phrases of each other.
The phrases must be played in order, although some may be skipped. The original recording of the piece was created by 11 musicians through overdubbing, several dozen instruments were utilized , while a performance in at the Walt Disney Concert Hall featured musicians. Though the polyphonic interplay of the various patterns against each other and themselves at different rhythmic displacements is of primary interest, the piece may be considered heterophonic.
Part 1: Part You can see the score and performance guidelines as a PDF file here. Glass intended it as a compendium of all the musical techniques he had devised for building large-scale rhythmic structures, assembling it movement-by-movement over four years until it acquired epic proportions. Complete performances are rare — the Brighton one, with three intervals, lasted well over four hours.
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