Steve Reich’s
Clapping Music

24 November 2012
The Core Theatre, The Cube, Corby, NN17 1QG

 

Steve Reich’s Clapping Music is based on a single rhythm related to a 12 beat African bell pattern, which is repeatedly clapped by two performers. One clapper rotates the pattern one beat at a time, thereby disrupting the rhythm, until the performers eventually converge in time again.

The rotational process, which Reich called ‘phasing’, is simultaneously the form and the content of the work.

The slight delay in the movement of the hands that causes the changing rhythm is too subtle to observe and can only be heard. During the summer of 1970, Steve Reich studied drumming at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana in Accra, with drummer Gideon Alorwoyie.

Reich wrote the 90 minute work Drumming shortly after his return, followed by Clapping Music in 1972.

The piece was performed as a prelude to the performance by the Wadzanai African Dancers, at the Core Theatre, Corby.

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