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Repetition and grouping : an analysis of Philip Glass’s Strung out Walker, Nicole Denise

Abstract

Repetition is a ubiquitous compositional technique in Philip Glass's music. Repetition of specific gestures is used to mark regularly recurring structural points, which in turn affects the way a listener groups musical structures. The intent of this paper is to discuss grouping theories that have specific application to minimalist music, and to attempt to refine certain aspects of these theories, specifically those engaging the various functions of events within groups in terms of their roles as beginnings, middles and endings. Glass's Strung Out will be the principal analytical subject. Further implications of grouping functions of pitches are discussed in the concluding chapter, where memory and anticipation are seen to play a role in the listening experience, as a listener attempts to understand and appreciate the piece as a whole.

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