posted by Caroline Picard
Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music
FOR MICROPHONES, AMPLIFIERS, SPEAKERS AND PERFORMERS
2,3,4 or more microphones are suspended from the ceiling by their cables so that they all hang the same distance from the floor and are all free to swing with a pendular motion. Each microphone’s cable is plugged into an amplifier which is connected to a speaker. Each microphone hangs a few inches directly above or next to it’s speaker.
The performance begins with performers taking each mike, pulling it back like a swing, and then in unison releasing all of them together. Performers then carefully turn up each amplifier just to the point where feedback occurs when a mike swings directly over or next to it’s speaker. Thus, a series of feedback pulses are heard which will either be all in unison or not depending on the gradually changing phase relations of the different mike pendulums.
Performers then sit down to watch and listen to the process along with the audience.
The piece is ended sometime after all mikes have come to rest and are feeding back a continuous tone by performers pulling out the power cords of the amplifiers.
Steve Reich 8/68