The perfect composition for the real-time virtual space in which distance creates slight delays of an unknowable degree. The canvas for the work is real-time and yet slightly displaced at each endpoint of the network. Like real life, except moreso.
by Terry Riley
Instruction for beginners
1 Any number of people can play this piece on any instrument or instruments (including voice).
2 The piece consists of 53 melodic patterns to be repeated any amount of times. You can choose to start a new pattern at any point. The choice is up to the individual performer! We suggest beginners are very familiar with patterns 1-12.
3 Performers move through the melodic patterns in order and cannot go back to an earlier pattern. Players should try to stay within 2-3 patterns of each other.
4 If any pattern is too technically difficult, feel free to move to the next one.
5 The eighth note pulse is constant. Always listen for this pulse. The pulse for our experience will be piano and Orff instruments being played on the stage.
6 The piece works best when all the players are listening very carefully. Sometimes it is better to just listen and not play. It is important to fit into the group sound and understand how what you decide to play affects everybody around you. If you play softly, other players might follow you and play soft. If you play loud, you might influence other players to play loud.
7 The piece ends when the group decides it ends. When you reach the final pattern, repeat it until the entire group arrives on this figure. Once everyone has arrived, let the music slowly die away.
San Francisco State University School of Music presents “In C” by Terry Riley
Over the past months I’ve been watching, reading and listening to the poet Rick Holland prepare to release his new work: Pattern Man. It’s almost impossible to pick up an individual thread that would mark the beginning. All the nervous pacing back and forth, the throat clearing, the chance meeting, the phrase that leapt from a notebook, entered the eyes, exited the mouth, as the microphone cocked its ear dispassionately.
At some point you look up and realize that even you are in the middle of it. For me, it was listening pre-release versions of the audio tracks on my daily commute to work. On the tenth listen, it was as though I’d always known this music, this voice, these words floating through my consciousness as I sped down the freeway. The physical objects that herald the release of the work are now moving through the global postal system, making their way to an audience.
The Quietus has a nice interview with Rick Holland where he discusses both the poetry and the music in Pattern Man. I particularly like the section where he discusses his collaboration with Chrononautz, the live hardware techno improvisation outfit.
I really like space. Just responding to the sound, there was a groove there – an undeniable groove that I was drawn to – it wasn’t just straight four-to-the-floor.
To the uneducated – and I count myself in that group – looking at the table of gizmos that they’ve got, it’s quite hard to judge who’s doing what and how much control there is over the whole process. The joyful reality of it is: there isn’t that much control over it. It’s very hard to recreate the same conditions more than once and I am strongly interested in that as a way of offering things to the world.
There’s much more to say about Rick Holland and Pattern Man, but reading about this slightly out-of-control process embraced as a strongly interesting and joyful reality, makes me smile. This is strong poetry inscribed on the surface of improvised music. Music, as Yo Yo Ma and others, have said, is the space between the notes.
For some time now, poetry has enjoyed the stable surface of the blank sheet of paper. Rick Holland’s poetry challenges this convention. For Rick, the inscribed surface is always music.