There are probably few pieces of contemporary music which have such universal appeal as Terry Riley’s „in C“. Written at the start of the minimal music movement its idea is simple: over a continuous pulse of repeated C’s each player can add his/her own pattern, in a kind of semi-organized group improvisation that can be continued as long as the players wish for. As it is all based on the scale of C-major the piece always sounds „right“, there are no „wrong“ notes and no accidentals.
„In C“ can also be performed by any number of people, even by musicians with little instrumental knowledge or amateurs, therefore it is the ideal „gateway“ piece when approaching ideas of contemporary music.
In my life I have already heard countless renditions of „in C“. Some of them were great, some of them atrociously bad – but the piece, through its ingeniously simple idea (the kind of idea like Cage’s „4’33““ that is great but can never be repeated again), basically always remained recognizeable, even idiomatic.
It was only a matter of time until somebody lifted this piece to the next level of modern intersocial connectivity. After British Pop Musicians already used „4’33““ as a statement against the Pop Industry now ChampdAction, Jazzperiments and Concertgebouw Brugge „present the newest innovation in social music making on a global scale.“: The In C App!
With this App it is now possible to contribute to a quasi endless internet performance of In C – everybody who has installed the App can contribute to this performance, stop at any time, enter again at any time, any place, anywhere, anyhow. It is the ideal internet piece, an endless meme just generating itself again and again endlessly, like a fractal composition that is different every time you listen to it, but also inherently exactly the same, like snowflakes which look different under the microscope but are completely equal in their physicality.
If you are interested in being part of this performance, you can read about the details here. The App itself will be launched October 11.
I am sure there is another app soon which counts the royalties for Terry Riley.
Only kidding. Play on and enjoy the most famous music meme in modern music!