Chapter

City Life (1995)

Steve Reich

in Writings on Music 1965–2000

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195151152
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850044 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151152.003.0057
City Life (1995)

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This chapter presents Reich's thoughts about City Life, where not only samples of speech but also car horns, door slams, air brakes, subway chimes, pile drivers, car alarms, heartbeats, boat horns, buoys, and fire and police sirens are part of the fabric of the piece. The prerecorded sounds here are played live in performance on two sampling keyboards. There is no tape used in performance. This brings back the usual small flexibility of tempo that is a hallmark of live performance. It also extends the idea of prepared piano since the sampling keyboards are “loaded” with sounds, many recorded by Reich in New York City.

Keywords: sampling keyboards; City Life; sounds; flexibility; tempo; live performance

Chapter.  773 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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