Phasing is a term coined by the composer Steve Reich for a technique in minimalist music where, through minute changes to the repeated patterns, the patterns get out-of-phase with each other. However, as time and repetition proceed the misplaced synchronization (whether in rhythm or pitch) gradually corrects itself. For example, if the looping of the top track of the MIDI file were reduced from 8 to 7 quarters /beats in duration, while the other tracks remained looped at 8 quarters duration, the top track would come in earlier and earlier on each repetition of the file. However, after 8 repetitions it would synchronize with the others again for one cycle before getting out-of-phase again.
To practise this technique return to MINIDORO I (Activity 5). Then:
1. Practise counting less or more than 2,3,4 (e.g 2,3 or 2,3,4,5,6,7 etc.) after the “yeah”-note which finishes the improvised Dorian patterns which start/end on D and/or A. This is best done as a large group activity to build confidence.
2. Play the MIDI file and repeat this exercise so as to get the class used to the phasing and to build concentration.
3. Divide the class into two or three groups and see if they can all hold patterns of different duration against those of the MIDI file. Record.
4. Play recording and discuss:
- when did all the patterns come together?
- at what interval did they come together?
- how successful was the end result?
- how would you go about creating a piece with a clear structure using this technique?
- is it possible to merge this technique with the other techniques learned in MINIDORO II, i.e. using different modes and creating melodies over the repeating patterns?
5. Listen to some to the works of Steve Reich which use phasing technique. Discuss and evaluate them. (See project further materials and follow-up for list of pieces and recordings.)
6. Composition exercise in groups (or individuals at MIDI-computers) to produce extended compositions.
7. Record, play, discuss evaluate pieces