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Here is how the music sounds when the two pianos begin in alignment.

A little while later, the second pianist shifts the basic pattern slightly out of alignment.

Later still, the second pianist shifts the pattern further and further out of alignment.

The farther out of alignment the two pianos get, the harder it is to recognize the underlying pattern. But ask yourselfthe following: Did the pianos change speed? Did the length of the pattern cycle change? Did the pianos play in a newregister or at a different volume? When you think about it, you will be able to sense the steadfastness of the basic pattern.

Here is one more example of the pianos out of alignment.

Now, listen to this extended excerpt from Piano Phase . When you listen to the excerpt, you will notice that, when the second pianist shifts alignment, thereis a brief "blurry" transition passage; then, the new alignment is established. The 3-minute excerpt will take youthrough the first three changes of alignment.

Reich's method uses very minimal means to achieve the goal of varied repetition. He manages to create gradual varietywithout changing the register, loudness or density of the pattern. Furthermore, unlike the other examples, Reich isvery patient in his presentation: He allows each stage of the process to persist, repeating over and over again,before shifting to the next. As a result, Reich's piece is more meditative and hypnotic than the other works; it hasmore in common with the stable repetition of pop music. However, Reich is still stretching his material bymaximizing the miminum: Eventually, the work explores every possible superposition of the basic pattern with itself.

Composers are often divided up by era and style: Bach , Chopin , Stravinsky and Reich would rarely be grouped together. However, beneath their unique personalities andstyles, these composers are all striving to create musical intelligibility through varied repetition . In the examples above, each has found a different way to achieve this underlying goal.

Varied repetition is not only a guiding principle in Western art-music. In a jazz work, a pattern such as the famous"twelve-bar blues," will provide an underlying consistency on top of which the band will create ever-changing, spontaneousimprovisations. In an Indian raga, an underlying rhythmic pattern, called a tala , creates the framework for elaborate improvisations. Music sustains itself, evolves andspans the globe because of the richness of possibilities created by varied repetition .

Repetition and recognition

Listening to explicit, literal repetition is like eating a simple carbohydrate: It is easily digested and quicklyabsorbed. That is why popular music has so much literal repetition: Its success depends on making an immediateimpact. On the other hand, listening to transformed repetition is like eating a complexcarbohydrate: It takes longer to digest. More of our attention is engaged: What changed? By howmuch? How fast did it happen? How long will it persist in the new form? Observations lead to interpretation: Why did itchange? What are the consequences of what happened?

More and more, nutritionists are emphasizing that complex carbohydrates are healthier for our bodies. Similarly,transformed repetition may be healthier for our musical minds: It demands greater concentration, more astute observations andmore careful reasoning--in short, more active listening. Learning to recognize and evaluate transformedrepetition is a crucial aspect of music appreciation.


Because music is an abstract, non-verbal time-art, repetition lies at the heart of how music makes sense. In pop music, therepetition tends to be more literal, while in classical music, it is often varied and transformed. As much as composers are oftensearching for new sounds and instrumental combinations, they are also inventing new means of building repetition.

Musical repetition offers powerful and suggestive models for how we understand the world and ourselves. The composer MarioDavidovsky, one of America's great living composers, has said that he listens to music not with knowledge but rather for knowledge, for guidance in understanding and grappling with life. Through itsimaginative and ever-changing use of repetition, music constantly presents us with new ways to recognize the unities and consistencies underlying our experience.

Questions & Answers

are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Michael's sound reasoning. OpenStax CNX. Jan 29, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10400/1.1
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