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Philip Glass

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Danyal Saeed

on 14 April 2014

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Transcript of Philip Glass

Interesting Facts
Philip Glass hates the term "minimalism" even though that is a common title given to his style of music (he prefers to call it "music with repetitive structures)
He studied math and philosophy before pursuing music at the Juilliard School in New York City
He attended the University of Chicago at age 15
He has written three Academy Award nominated film scores and was the recipient of a Golden Globe
Glass inhabited northern India for a year, an experience that caused him to convert to Buddhism and support the movement for Tibetan independence
Philip was made a Chavalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 1995
Glassworks "Opening"
Chamber Music: form of classical music composed for small group of instruments
-released in 1982
-six movements
Symphony No. 3
Music in 12 Parts
written between 1971 to 1974
displays the various repetition techniques that he had developed over the years
considered to be a massive theoretical exercise" as well as "a deeply engrossing work of art"
originally made one part which was supposed to stand alone (the title was making a reference to the twelve lines of counterpoint)

Symphony No. 4 "Heroes"

Philip Morris Glass:
A Timeless Composer

Musical Characteristics
- Originally made by David Bowie and Brian Eno in 1977
- Their album was titled
- Philip Glass used Bowie and Eno's pieces as inspiration for
Symphony No. 4 "Heroes"
published in 1996
- 1st piece in album, "Heroes"
- Minimalist
- Very repetitive
ex. Strings in background
- Noticable patterns in main melody as well
- Frequent use of strong crescendos and decrescendos
- Pattern in dynamic changes
ex. Forte -> piano -> forte
- Good balance between main melody and background

- Repetitiveness made it catchy
- Dynamics were well used
- Sounded simple, but was still rhythmical
- Good balance
- "Heroes," by Bowie and Eno changed future of popular music by combining:
- World music
- Experimental avant-garde
- Rock and roll
- Philip Glass was inspired, so he used their album as a starting point for
Symphony No. 4 "Heroes"

World music = combination of different styles of music from around the world
Experimental avant-garde = innovative, different
-written to be suited for Walkman
-more accessible for recording studio
-intended to introduce his music to a more general audience than had been familiar with it up to then
Elements of Music
-triple eighth notes
duple eighth notes: (two eighth notes per bar)
-whole notes in 4/4
-fast caused by the triple eighth notes and duple eighth notes
Musical Instruments
electric organs (3)
flutes (2)
saxophones (4)
alto (1)
tenor (1)
soprano (2)
female voice
draws you in (with unique style of music)
lulling (the layering of the instruments makes it a bit hypnotizing)
careful listening (the change in melody isn't clear)

The Various Parts
Part 1: soulful ( some instrument playing C# or F#)
Part 2: different key, faster tempo and more rhythmic
Part 3: self contained (fourths)
Part 4: lengthy single chord
Part 5: joyous and rushing
Part 6: uses standard chord and gradually builds up
Part 7: more swift than "Music in Similar Motion"
Part 8: forward motion with contraction of soprano
Part 9: ornamentation (lithe, bouncing broken chord)
Part 10: blaring & aggressive intro then softens
Part 11: harmony changes ever new figure
Part 12: quodlibet (medley of well-known tunes)

I. Opening: piano, horn
II. Floe: 2 flutes, 2 soprano saxophones, 2 tenor saxophones, 2 horns, synthesizer
III. Island: 2 flutes, 2 saprano saxophones, tenor saxophones, bass clarinet, 2 horns, viola, cello
IV. Rubric: flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 horns, organ
V. Façades: 2 soprano saxophones, synthesizer, viola, cello
VI. Closing: flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, horn, viola, cello, piano
Composed by Philip Glass in 1995 for the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Primary goal was for 19 musicians to each have soloist identity
Comprised of 4 distinct movements

Movement 1

Moderate tempo
Piano to mezzo piano dynamics
Serves as prelude to following movements
Prelude: a brief musical composition that is played as an introduction to another larger piece
Pulsating C's followed by stepwise movements, contrasting scales
Slow moving bass notes, pulsing string figurations
Figuration: short succession of notes
Movement 2
Commences with running eighth notes
Gradually developing harmony
Simple unison melody blossoms into complex polyphony
Polyphony: : a musical texture characterized by the combination of multiple simultaneously played melodies
Metrical changes
Pizzicato Counterpoint: combined melodic lines played by plucking the strings of string instruments using one’s fingers
Movement 3
Sheet Music for Movement 3
Written in the form of a chaccone
Chaconne: a musical form that originally gained popularity during the Baroque era
Arpeggiated minor triads played by lower strings and syncopated melody played in middle register
Arpeggiated minor triad: minor triads played in sequence
Piano with frequent crescendos
Initial ground bass played by by three celli and four violas
Instruments added until solo violinist plays cantabile melody
Cantabile: songlike
Heavily ornamented, polyphonic texture
Movement 4
Harkens back to second movement
Chords played at an allegro tempo
Interjected by short chromatic runs
Mezzo forte to forte
Abstract Art Made for Symphony No. 3
Impact and Impressions
Written for 10 violins, 4 violas, 3 cellos, and 2 basses
Most significant departure from minimalist style in Glass’ career
Earned title of his most "classic" and "traditional" work
Departure from the austere nature of his earlier works to a more emotional style of music
Caused paradigm shift away from minimalist style in world of music
Listener embarks on multifaceted musical journey and experiences variety of moods
Minimalist Rendition of
Philip Glass
Background Information
Philip Glass was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1937
He has written a wide spectrum of works, including operas, symphonies, chamber music, concertos, musical theater, and film scores
He studied under famed composer Nadia Boulanger in Paris from 1966-1968, under a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship
The End
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