Play with Steve Reich’s techniques in a free iPhone app

Steve Reich’s musical etudes are already a kind of self-contained lesson in rhythm. Inspired by drumming traditions, Reich distills in his music essential principles of rhythmic construction, introducing Western Classical musicians to cyclic forms. That makes them a natural for visual scoring – doubly so something interactive, which is what an iPhone can provide. And so one percussion ensemble has made an app that both reveals Reich’s techniques and opens up a toy you can use to make your own musical experiments. Plus – it’s free.


Steve Reich played on Game Boys is mesmerizing

Steve Reich’s exploration of rhythm and phase take on special meaning in the age of ubiquitous electronic instruments. What started with clapping, with pianos and marimbas, and tape loops doubles now as a way of thinking about machine rhythm, too. Hearing Reich on Game Boys here isn’t just a novelty. It feels like a real re-instrumentation – Wendy Carlos’ Switched on Bach approach for the Mario Bros. generation. Listen & watch (it’s all live):


Free Clapping Music App Teaches You Steve Reich – And Rhythm

Before there was Rock Band and Guitar Hero, there was Steve Reich’s 1972 Clapping Music. And like all etudes, it’s a game. Now an iPhone app makes it an actual game.


See the Phasing, in a Visualization of Steve Reich’s Piano Phase from Alexander Chen on Vimeo. You can already hear it. And now, in a hypnotic, rotating visualization, you can see Steve Reich’s melodies shift out of phase. It’s latest work from Alexander Chen, the Google-employed artist who we’ve seen working with wine glasses and Google Glass, visualizing Bach, and sonifying subway schedules. This time, a radial visualization elucidates the subtle but beautiful play of piano lines in the seminal minimalist work. Live in your browser: More:


Music from Code: In Simple Text, Live Coding Steve Reich-ian Rhythms with Free Overtone

Writing code for music may still seem a remote notion to the vast majority of even geekier digital musicians, but as exemplified by the language Overtone, it looks very different than coding once did. Whereas sound code was once a type-and-render affair, new coding environments focus on live coding. They use elegant, lightweight modern languages that take up less space. And they can be surprisingly musical, coming remarkably close to just typing “play a c major chord.” Not to say that you won’t look plenty geeky doing it — but, hey, if you can’t impress slash frighten your friends a …


Auto-Tune The News, And Channeling Steve Reich, Anyone?

The Internet, having satisfied itself yesterday with video that faked a Beyonce who couldn’t sing, now imagines news that can. And Steve Reich is proven ahead of his time — again. (Congrats on the Pullitzer – it took them just five decades to notice!) Yes, Antares’ Auto-Tune plug-in – now so ubiquitous in mainstream, non-audio-engineer knowledge that it’s become a generic description like “Kleenex” – can be applied to everything. (We, um, can only hope these industrious YouTubers are using legally-licensed copies – that is, until Antares releases a 99-cent iPhone app.) And so, hilariously, we imagine a world of …