Below is a complete analysis of the A2 Music work New York Counterpoint: movement II looking at all the elements of music with some taster questions at the end. Feel free to skip to the parts most relevant to you. This piece is a minimalist piece of music: Steve Reich led the surge in minimalist music with pieces such as this one and electric counterpoint.
- The key signature states the piece is in the key of B major. However, there is an extra sharp (being on the 4th). Therefore, the key is a lydian mode on E.
- Bars 39-45 features a tonality of F sharp major with a G in the base.
- Section 1 lasts from bars 1-26.
- Section 2 lasts from bars 27-65.
- The phrasing of the bars change from 6-8-6 and so on.
- The counterpoint fades towards the en in dynamic and texture.
- There is a four part harmony chord at bar 26 in Clarinets 7-10 which uses a D sharp only for homo-rhythmic pulsations. The pulsations dynamically fade in and out.
- At bars 33-38 the chords are based on 4ths.
- The basis of the melody in this piece is on a six note scale.
Rhythm and Meter
- At bar 14, the live Clarinet and Clarinet 1 are a whole beat out of phrase.
- The piece is in triple meter – the pulse is not easy to detect.
- A counterpoint is a type of polyphonic motif repeated and cannoned.
- More parts are added at bar 9.
- This piece uses no other instruments other than the Clarinet. The soloist has pre-recorded eight Clarinets and two bass Clarinets and has then a final solo Clarinet playing over the top.
The two clarinet parts in the first two bars are playing with a homorhythmic texture in 11ths.
The music in bars 3-6 is exactly the same as that in bars 1-2. The only difference is that there is a bar pauses between each melodic bar.
The live clarinettist starts playing unrelated material to the pre-recorded tracks at bar 5.
Phrasing is when the music is divided into a specific way especially for performances. An example of this is at bars 9-10 where the phrasing of the melody lines is two bars long.
NAM 12 is neither tonal or atonal. Instead, it uses the lydian mode on E (B with five sharps plus an extra sharp on the 4th).
Reich managed to create variety in the movement by adapting the melody line between parts, playing a live clarinet with a constantly varying melody and by including a tonic pedal of C# in the bass.
I think it comprises it significantly. There are nine clarinets pre-recorded which makes it difficult to hear the live clarinet. As well, the repeating melodies in the pre-recorded clarinets will make it difficult for the live clarinet to change his melody making it hard for the live clarinet to be spontaneous.