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Re: Bach as a looper


I was talking to my piano teacher about Bach and looping yesterday, so your
post was quite timely.

There is no doubt that Bach would have been a looper.  The use of
polyphonic voices is the first thing most musicians think of when they are
first exposed to looping technology.  I'm playing Friday night and I'm
actually going to loop the bass line of a back minuet in F and then develop
on the key on the treble cleff...but that said, the other stuff we do
looping goes in a couple of other distinct directions.

Are you familiar with the Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis? The kind of
modal sound that his early choral works (40 voices) develops is really
interesting in light of the ambient "texture" that one can develop by using
a looper. We try to pop harmonics, manipulate Ebows, use volume swells,
distotion, feeback etc to product different voices that meld and fugue.
It's like texture.  Reminds me of the Romantic painters in terms
background...skies.  Think Turner.

My piano teacher thought of Bartok...but I have to go back and listen
again.  One "ambient" opening to a great symphony is Mahler's Symphony #1,
sometimes called the Titan. Ever heard the opening of the original Star
Trek theme (Space the final frontier)...don't laugh, I'd bet blood that tv
composer was stealing from Mahler.

I haven't talked about the a-tonal school, I have to go back and listen.

But that kind of ambient/serial sound is also part of looping, but
completely different in feel from the polyphonic/archetectural sound of a
Bach fugue.