Music for 18 Musicians Concert Staller Center 1974

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Music for 18 Musicians Concert Staller Center 1974

This article is about a concert of the song called Music for 18 Musicians. It was composed by Steve Reich in 1974 and performed at the Staller Center in December 08. As the name suggests, it was played by a group of eighteen artists who were categorized into different groups depending on the role they were playing. There was a combination of both instrumentalists and vocalists in the performance of this pulse music. I would like to report that this was a well organized crew that produced an excellent concert that I ever attended.

As already highlighted, this pulse music used a group of singers that were classified into different chords with each playing in a cycle. They perfectly used human breath to melodically deconstruct each of the variable chords used. All the melodies were properly augmented to create a clear distinction between each of them. The instruments used in this concert include the piano, xylophone, marimba, violin, clarinet and cello (Steve, 2002).  

Besides, this song had a lot of themes that kept on changing from time to time. Many of the phrases were quite dynamic and kept being repeated. Meanwhile, the others had chiastic structures in conjunction with rhythmic and well coordinated movements, especially at the beginning of the song. The phrases were in a continuous transition leading to the observed decrease and increase in the volume of the song.  This helped the music to unfold in layers of polyrhythmic patterns making the song to be slow, but with constant vocals and codes. Moreover, the constant flow in the music starts from xylophone and later gradually increases chords before disappearing. On approaching the climax, repeated sounds of marimba are incorporated to make the performance perfect. 

Based on the above observations, I would agree that this was truly an entertaining concert that left me yearning for more. I was particularly pleased by the organization of the performers. I think they must have been well trained on how best to execute their roles. I really admired the instrumentalists and vocalists. The vocalists were so impressive in the way they used their skills to easily turn their human voicing to appropriately match that of the violin, piano and all the other instruments. This was a great move because it helped them to create a pure voice (Dennis 2006).

The other important aspect of the performers was the use of microphone, other instruments and the associated movements. All the vocalists knew how to properly use these gadgets. The way they were moving them closer to and away from their mouths made a significant contribution to the success of this concert. It helped to perfectly balance the sound and make each of the instruments to stand out distinctly. This is due to the fact that such movements helped them to create a variety of energy and sound waves. All these aspects helped to create a good rapport between the performers and the audience in this well organized venue.

However, even if this song really aroused my interest, I would like to condemn it for its complexity. The use of unending repetitions made it quite confusing. In fact, it is because of this, I could spot some singers going astray just because they could not manage to play all the constantly changing rhythms. It is because of this that some sections of the song appeared to be having unrelated melodies. Otherwise, the Music for 18 Musicians is a must watch because it will permanently change your mood and leave you yearning for more.


Dennis, J.H. (2006) Steve Reich: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Press.

Steve, R. (2002) Writings about Music. Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

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