This piece of music is being written in a minimalist style. Make comments about the music to help it get a B grade. Use the Edexcel mark scheme and what you know of Steve Reich’s music to guide your advice.
September 22, 2014 at 8:17 pm
The texture of this piece stays happily within the guidelines of what would be expected for a minimalist piece, they are also interesting yet simple with slow changing to keep this piece within the minimalist genre. To improve this piece try and avoid including such a sudden change in the piece at 1:10. Also, try to include some rhythmic displacement to advance the texture and give the piece a more complex sounding melody. By doing this it would also make a connection to Steve Reich’s work clearer, therefore increasing your score in use and development of ideas.
September 22, 2014 at 8:39 pm
Really good, detailed comments. We’ll done!
September 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm
The structure of the piece is good, but the stop at 1.10 is too sudden. If you add a stronger melody line, your marks will improve as the mark scheme uses the words ‘style and character.’ Throughout the piece, if you add more appropriate dynamics, there will be contrast. Introducing different instruments at different times in the piece will make more connections to Steve Reich’s work and marks in ‘development of ideas’ will increase.
September 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm
TEG – good comments. What kind of dynamics should be added?
September 24, 2014 at 3:50 pm
The dynamics that need to be included are louder crescendos, (eg. mf-ff) and quieter decrescendos (eg. f-mp) to create contrast in the piece, this is key in a minimalist piece.
September 23, 2014 at 4:48 pm
i like the structure of this piece because it has a strong rift through out the piece but i agree with TEG. to up your marks you need use dynamics.I would grade it a low C
September 23, 2014 at 5:42 pm
DJ, an adequate comment with a suggestion about dynamics. What exactly does the composer have to use dynamics in order for it to sound more like a minimalist piece? How does Steve Reich use dynamics in his pieces?
September 24, 2014 at 5:18 pm
they could use crescendo because it would work well with the this piece and yes steve reich uses crescendo in Music for 18 Musicians all so in this piece he uses mezzo piano i like this because i makes his musics relaxing and slow
September 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm
The addition of the drum at 0.13 i think is good, however the strings come in at the same time, however in minimilst music there is slow change. I would also recomend developling the melody(once again slowly) possibly developing it into antoher section(like you did at 1.12) which will give this piece some more structre, think about ABA or ABAC.
This piece needs some dynamic contrast, i suggest applying crescendo’s/subito forte’s.
At a later stage in the piece the addition of more instruments would enhance the piece, although when chosing try and stick to similar or more of the same instruments as Steve Reich in ‘Electric Counterpoint’ uses only electric guitars and bass guitars, this will show your understanding of minimilst music and Steve Reich.
September 23, 2014 at 5:40 pm
stevewhysteve, I agree with your comment about slow change. Perhaps a slower build up of layers as some of the others have suggested?
September 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm
Indeed. that is a better idea!
September 23, 2014 at 5:33 pm
There was appropriate texture and I liked the use of instruments, but I felt to improve the piece, maybe add the instruments in gradually as this will create more style and character, which the mark scheme asks for. Also, the piece felt a little monotonous until around 1:04 when the piece changes, so adding in the instruments gradually will make this change less sharp. Finally, a stronger melody line will increase your marks, as I felt it got lost during the piece.
September 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm
EMC, a stronger melody is a nice idea. Of course you mean a stronger motif as minimalist music doesn’t usually have a melody as such (although I know what you mean!)
September 23, 2014 at 6:44 pm
The instruments are very forward and are not as gradual as many minimalist pieces also to gain extra marks the piece should also develop further as I found it started to develop but then was repetitive throughout until a sudden change at the end which should be gradual preferably. Are however the choice of instruments compliment each other in the harmony. Although adding more instruments and layers to the piece will give it a connection to the example piece also.
September 24, 2014 at 7:14 am
FN – could the gradual build up of layers actually be done through dynamics? If so, how?
September 24, 2014 at 6:46 pm
Yes, you can use dynamics such as crescendos to bring in layers more gradually and build it up and can then be built up using forte’s and other dynamics to bring out certain elements of your piece.
September 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm
in the piece there was a really nice use of the riff throughout, the piece could be improved with the addition of dynamics for example right now it is all the same but if you added dynamics it would add more texture and feel more minimalist just like when listening to steve reich, the additions of drums is a really nice addition and is unusual in a minimalist piece (try to steer away from them in future as this will show you have more understanding of minimalism), the addition of more instruments will really enhance the piece and build on the already strong riff, also in future don’t make such quick changes as what I said before it will show your understanding of minimalism.
September 24, 2014 at 7:13 am
Great comments! Sudden changes don’t reflect minimalism and you’ve brought this out in your comment. Well done!
September 23, 2014 at 6:55 pm
The instruments used in this piece work well together and I think you’ve used the drum appropriately. To make this a B grade piece you should bring the instruments slowly so the piece builds up slowly making it less repetitive. There also needs to be a range of dynamics from loud to quite to make certain parts contrast with each other. the sudden stop at 1:10 doesn’t help your piece in anyway, instead of this maybe thinking about removing instruments and bringing them back slowly for the next section
September 24, 2014 at 7:12 am
Good comments KMM. Using dynamics effectively is a sure fire way of getting better marks.
September 23, 2014 at 8:08 pm
the layers and texture were a good effect, i feel that you could make the main line appear stronger as it seems a little drown out in my opinion, maybe adding a gradual build up of instruments to display how the layers gradually build to the ultimate. maybe to improve the piece further add appropriate contrast to the dynamics, as the mark scheme says that this would gain you basic marks. i couldnt really tell when the sections break up, maybe make that a little more obvious.
September 24, 2014 at 7:11 am
LMD – your comment about the sections is interesting. In minimalist music there is a metamorphosis that takes pace so the sections aren’t always very clear. However, I think I know what you mean … you’d like to hear melodic and harmonic contrast throughout the piece. Good!
September 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm
There was texture but maybe they could have built up the layers to add more character to the piece, instead of having them come in all at once. Also the sudden stop at 1:10 could be changed to have different instruments fade out one by one to make it all come together and again add character to the piece. And finally they could also add dynamics for example the drum beat at some points could be made louder to emphasize it more and to add some mood to the piece.
September 24, 2014 at 7:09 am
AM – good. a build up of layers and the then a gradual removing of those layers is a good idea and should give the piece a more characteristically minimalist feel.
September 23, 2014 at 8:23 pm
I believe the piece showed a good texture but lacked a build up of layers. The piece stayed very similar throughout untill the sudden stop towards the end. To improve on this you could make a more evident beginning middle and end. It needs more shape to the melody line and more dynamics. Other than that it is a nice piece to listen too and with small changes it will be better.
September 24, 2014 at 7:08 am
EF – good comments. A clearer structure would be good to help the flow and development of the piece.
September 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm
To improve this piece i think you would need to add another motif to it. I also think that you could change the dynamics by making some parts louder as if you wanted to make them stand out more and
September 24, 2014 at 7:17 am
AMR – yes another motif is need to help with the “Developing ideas” criteria.
September 23, 2014 at 9:10 pm
I think instead of most of the instruments coming in at the same time, they should be added more gradually so it layers more and creates more texture which you could gain more marks for. I think there should be a variation in dynamics to make it go louder and quieter at certain points to make it relate to steve reichs piece more. You can tell clearly by the note addition that it’s a minimalist piece and you can hear the development throughout it.
September 24, 2014 at 7:06 am
Good comments CLP. a gradual build up of the layers will certainly give the piece extra depth.
September 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm
I think the quick stop at the end was the only variation and sudden change in the piece so maybe add some other techniques into the piece, use augmentation or phasing so the piece has more layering at texture to
September 25, 2014 at 7:09 am
augmentation means to double the note values – this is a common minimalist technique that often works really well. Thanks Imr for suggesting it
September 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm
The motif is good but it isn’t build up in layers – a key point in defining it as a minimalist piece. The layers need to gradually add to the piece via the process of metamorphosis (changing one thing at a time to change the overall sound of a motif). There needs to be more development within the piece, it is nearly the same from 0:00 until 1:04. You will loose a lot of marks in the compulsory criteria without metamorphosis for this area of study. The sudden change near the end also needs blending into the rest of the piece as sudden change is not characteristic of minimalist music. There isn’t an obvious melody in the piece because the loud part is made up of harmony-like broken chords, this instrument uses broken chords well but as a harmony/accompaniment it needs to be in the background and not so prominent. the piece sounds laid-back and I think the tempo matches this. Use of dynamics could be incorporated such as loud sections followed by quieter repeats and also the use of sforzandos may enhance the piece. The piece doesn’t sound finished at the end (it sounds like it was a work in progress) but overall well done.
September 25, 2014 at 7:08 am
the process of metamorphosis is really important – good observation
September 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm
This piece had good ideas but it needed to be developed a bit more. You could think about including a variety of dynamics maybe include a crescendo and a diminuendo from piano to forte or the other way around. At 1:10 the music stops. If you deleted the bar or bars it would make more sense as a minimalist piece because a minimalist piece only stops when it finishes and starts when you press play. The piece is in the boundaries of what would sound like a minimalist piece. In a minimalist piece all the layers and the texture should gradually builds up, but the drums come in at the same time as the strings as “stevewhysteve” said.
September 25, 2014 at 7:07 am
CW – good comments about starting and stopping
September 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm
i think that the piece is good but it should have more layers instead of the piece starting with many instruments it should build up, this would help with the shaping and structure of the piece. also think that dynamics such as noticeable pitch differences should be added so that the composition can develop.
September 25, 2014 at 7:06 am
you can add dynamics on “noticeable pitch differences” by adding an accent over the note.
October 19, 2015 at 6:53 pm
i just really really like this piece
October 19, 2015 at 7:06 pm
I’ve just listened to minimalist on Soundcloud. I really liked the string section and the full drums packed a punch. The only issue is that it was far too repetitive and I got bored with it after 30 seconds.
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