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Encyclopedia > Repetitive music

Repetitive music is music which features a relatively high degree of repetition in its creation or reception. Examples includes minimalist music, disco, Igor Stravinsky, barococo, and the Suzuki method. (Fink 2005, p.5) Music is an art, entertainment, or other human activity which involves structured and audible sound, though definitions vary. ... Repetition is the occurrence of an event which has occurred before. ... This article is about a musical style. ... Disco is a genre of music that originated in discothèques. ... Igor Stravinsky in his middle ages. ... The Suzuki method is a way of teaching, or educational philosophy, most often used in learning to play music. ...

Repetitive music has often been negatively linked with Freudian thanatos. Theodor Adorno (1948, p.178) provides an early example in his criticism of Igor Stravinsky, whose, "rhythmic procedures [ ostinato ] closely resemble the schema of catatonic conditions. In certain schizophrenics, the process by which the motor apparatus becomes independent leads to infinite repetition of gestures or words, following the decay of the ego." Wim Mertens (1980, p.123-124) later argues that "In repetitive music, repetition in the service of the death instinct prevails. Repetition is not repetition of identical elements, so it is not reproduction, but the repetition of the identical in another guise. In traditional music, repetition is a device for creating recognizability, reproduction for the sake of the representing ego. In repetitive music, repetition does not refer to eros and the ego, but to the libido and to the death instinct." Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno (September 11, 1903 – August 6, 1969) was a German sociologist, philosopher, musicologist and composer. ... Ostinato, an Italian word meaning stubborn (compare English obstinate), is to classical music what riffs are to popular music. ... Wim Mertens (b. ... The death instinct (Thanatos) was defined by Sigmund Freud, in Jenseits des Lustprinzips (Beyond the Pleasure Principle) (1920; English translation 1922). ... eGO is a company that builds electric motor scooters which are becoming popular for urban transportation and vacation use. ... Eros, a god in Greek mythology Eros can also refer to: The Greek word Eros, which means sexual love 433 Eros, an asteroid EROS, the Extremely Reliable Operating System Pjur Eros, a premium latex-safe personal lubricant Eros, the life instinct postulated by Freudian psychology, standing in opposition to Thanatos... Libido in its common usage means sexual desire, however more technical definitions, such as found in the work of Carl Jung, are more general, referring to libido as the free creative, or psychic, energy an individual has to put toward personal development, or individuation. ...

Contrastingly, and more recently, repetitive music has also been positively linked with Lacanian jouissance. David Schawrz (1992, p.134) argues that the repetition in John Adams's Nixon in China "trapping listeners in a narrow acoustic corridor of the Real" while Naomi Cumming (1997, p.129-152) argues that the repetitive string ostinatos of Steve Reich's Different Trains are "prearticulate" pieces of the Real providing a refuge from the Holocaust and its "horror of identification." Jouissance is a French term which translated means enjoyment and contrasted with plaisir. ... John Coolidge Adams (b. ... The phrase Nixon in China is a historical reference to US President Richard Nixons visit to see Chairman Mao Zedong, leader of the Peoples Republic of China in 1972. ... The Real is a term used by the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan in his theory of psychic structures. ... Steve Reich Steve Reich (born Stephen Michael Reich, October 3, 1936; last name pronounced []) is an American composer. ... Different Trains is a famous three-movement piece for string quartet and tape written by Steve Reich in 1988. ...


  • Adorno, Theodor (1948). The Philosophy of Modern Music. Trans. Anne G. Mitchell and Wesley V. Blomster (1973). Cited in Fink 2005.
  • Cumming, Naomi (1997). "The Horrors of Identification: Reich's Different Trains" Perspectives of New Music 35, no. I (winter).
  • Fink, Robert (2005). Repeating Ourselves: American Minimal Music as Cultural Practice. ISBN 0520245504.
  • Mertens, Wim (1980/1983/1988). American Minimal Music, trans. J. Hautekiet. ISBN 0912483156. Cited in Fink 2005.
  • Schwarz, David (1992). "Postmodernism, the Subject, and the Real in John Adams's Nixon in China" Indiana Theory Review 13, no. 2 (fall). Cited in Fink 2005.

Further reading

  • Attali, Jacques (1977/1985). "Repeating" Noise. ISBN 0816612870.



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