Listening Guide

Miles Davis: Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (1969)
From the album Bitches Brew  - one the early milestones of jazz rock (fusion).
The solo conveys a blues feeling but it is a free and imaginative flow of musical ideas not based on a regular form or an established chord pattern.

Listening Guide

John Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986).

b.1947 is a leading American composer who is described as postminimalist. 

His music combines the driving pulse, constant repetition and clear tonality of minimalism with lyrical, expressive melodies and varied orchestral colors.

Listening Guide

John Cage: Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano (1946-1948).

American composer John Cage (1912 - 1992) was the highly influential creator of chance music - (choosing pitches, tone colors and rhythms by random methods such as throwing coins.  Performers also chose the ordering of music material). 

This piece for prepared piano consisted of a grand piano whose sound is altered by objects such as bolts, screws, rubber bands, pieces of felt, paper and plastic inserted between the strings of some of the keys.  The preparation takes 3 hours to complete.  Results in a wide variety of sounds that resemble those of drums, cymbals, xylophones, tambourines and gongs.

Listening Guide

Ravi Sankar: Maru-Bihag - An improvisation by this sitarist on the evening raga Maru - Bihag. (A season, color or mood). 

Ravi illustrates the raga pattern and the tala (beat cycle) used as a basis for this performance. 

The ascending and descending melodic forms of Maru-Bihag are as follows:

Note:  The rhythm is organized into cycles called talas

A tala consists of a repeated cycle of beats which range from 3 to more than 100 beats in length.  Most common is 6 to 16. 

A cycle is divided into groups of beats.  The 10-beat tala called jhaptal  is divided 2-3-2-3.

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