Friday, August 9, 2013

Trance Bass

My first instrument was the electric bass and my first question of the day is, what is the difference between this and what Philip Glass or Michael Nyman are doing?

Philip Glass:

Oh, I know, Philip Glass did it first, plus, nice 3 against 2. But here's the thing, a musical style that is easily duplicated is not a very interesting musical style. This is one reason I would say that Vivaldi, for example, is a less interesting composer than Bach. It is not very hard to duplicate Vivaldi's style, but very, very hard to duplicate Bach's. Beethoven did a fair realization (which is better than duplication) of the style of Mozart and Brahms sort of did a realization of Beethoven, a long time later. But other good examples are rare.

But there are a thousand duplicates of the style of Philip Glass and Michael Nyman out there:

For one thing, Nyman is pretty much a duplicate of Glass already...

Steve Reich is less easy to duplicate because it is a more interesting and developed musical vocabulary:


Rickard Dahl said...

That style of music, whatever it is (often piano with an accompaniment pattern repeating over and over and over) is very annoying imo. Maybe the right word would be pop music for piano (often trying to sound sad (or people saying it's sad just because it's played on a piano)) or "epic music" as referred by its' audience. I don't know what it is that makes it so bad, maybe it's the progressions, maybe it's the lack of variety, maybe the way the melody and accompaniment works in there, maybe a combination of all.

Nathan Shirley said...

See I would say Glass is a very poor duplication of Vivaldi (one of my favorites- easy to duplicate or not... though maybe not as easy as it seems).

Bryan Townsend said...

The composer Jan Swafford wrote one of the most telling critiques of Philip Glass in a column on Slate:

"Of many examples in my life, it bemuses me to remember that I used to be a devotee of Philip Glass.
What happened to divide me and Glass was simply this: Around 1973 I attended a concert of the Philip Glass Ensemble. At that point I was a country schoolteacher in Vermont preparing to go to grad school. With great excitement I shelled out some money I didn't really have and drove 100 miles to hear a Glass concert at Dartmouth. I walked into the hall a fan and walked out with a headache, my ears ringing, seriously pissed off. The once-so-cool hypnotic effect of the music now sounded to me unearned, all too easily achieved by the dumb device of repeating things over and over, like "A Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall." Bach and Brahms and Bartók are multidimensional; they throw ideas and developments at you constantly. Glass boils all the possible dimensions of music down to one idea and beats you senseless with it."