Community Perspectives: Subverting Repetition & Loops

New Music has a long love affair with repetition of loops and ostinati. While not all styles of New Music embrace repetition, loops and ostinati are generally hard to avoid, appearing frequently in styles ranging from classic minimalism to current laptop music (plus every time I hear contemporary popular music).

Looping technology is also a way for newcomers to jump right into music making – which can be exciting due to the fresh sounds the untrained sometimes discover but also potentially frustrating or annoying for people who have spent years on their craft.

So, how do you approach and vary repetition? Do you avoid or embrace exact repetition? Do you use a system or gradual process? Do you rely on your personal taste in the moment? Do you disguise repetition or avoid it altogether? How do you stand out in a New Music landscape filled with composers who enjoy repeating themselves?

Non-motoric minimalism

Posted by Jacob Feinberg November 2nd, 2012

Even though my music is greatly influenced by some aspects of minimalism, I usual prefer to avoid exact repetition. My avoidance of exact repetition has grown over time, so if you listen to my earlier pieces you’ll find a lot more exact repetition. There are a lot of ways I might vary a phrase or […]