Student Collaboration: ‘In C’

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This summer, amateur and student musicians will be coming together to create a unique virtual performance of Terry Riley’s iconic minimalist composition ‘In C’. This is a piece made up of a series of very short fragments of music, played on any instrument. In our rendition of the work, the fragments will come in any order, and participants will record themselves playing all or just some of them. Then our arranger, John, will put it all together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Participation is open to all non-professional musicians, and you can submit your recording either as a video or as an audio clip. In submitting a recording you are also giving permission for us to use the clip in our virtual performance and to distribute it on YouTube / social media as a means of raising money for UNICEF.

If you’d like to get involved, here’s how:

  • Listen to this performance of Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ to get an idea of what we’re aiming at:
Terry Riley - In C Parts Pic

And this is how each of the 24 fragments I’ve highlighted sound:

  • Set the pulsating C metronome running in headphones (** It’s really important that we can’t hear this on your final recording**) and have a go at playing the snippets – you can do this on ANY instrument.

(Please let me know if you play a transposing instrument such as clarinet because we will need to adjust the key accordingly.) The metronome goes on for 12 minutes, so your final recording can be any length up to 12 minutes.

Here’s the pulsating metronome clip:

  • Once you’ve practised, set yourself up so that you can hear the metronome through headphones and that you have some means of recording your performance (either video and audio, or audio only).
  • Play whichever snippets of music that you like, each one on a loop – repeating over and over again. You can run straight out of one snippet into another, or leave a gap in-between. There’s no need to announce which snippet you’re playing (I just did that on my video for clarity). You can also play the snippets in any order you like, and play as many or as few of them as you like. The only rules are:
    • You must play to the beat of the pulsating metronome (so that all the different parts fit nicely together in the end).
    • No single snippet should be played for more than half a minute.
    • Your recording must be no longer than 12 minutes in total.
  • Send your recording to me..
  • Closing date for contributions is Wednesday 28th July.

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