Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Free music: Kyle Gann

I discovered Kyle Gann mainly through my interest in William Duckworth; Gann apparently is the world's leading authority on Duckworth's music (see my Dec. 18 post.) But reading Gann's comments made me curious about Gann himself, and I went from his blog to his official site, and discovered that it contains a great deal of Gann's music, freely downloadable as MP3 files. Gann's site is amusingly unhindered by modesty. I tried some of the files and found out Gann's music is very listenable, indeed. I'll download "Long Night," his only work available at, when my monthly subscription renews in a few days.

I've been reading Gann's book, AMERICAN MUSIC IN THE 20th CENTURY. (By reading, I mean jumping around and reading about various composers who interest me, while skipping over the music theory stuff which I don't understand.) The book includes an entry on one Kyle Gann. My guess is Gann is probably a leading authority on Gann, too, so let's quote the entry:

"Another composer heavily influenced by American Indian music is Kyle Gann (the author, born 1955 in Dallas, Texas) whose works are also drum-driven; specifically, he has developed a rhythmic language of changing tempos from the beat-shifting music of the Hopi, Zuni and Pueblo Indians. In this respect his ensemble music (such as "Astrological Studies," 1994) is similar to Michael Gordon's, but smoother, more consonant, and more melodic, in a style once referred to by the "New York Times" as "naive pictorialism." Oddly (since postminimalism provides such a clear context for microtonal perception), Gann is the only totalist or postminimalist composer working in just-intonation tuning; his electronic works use purely tuned pitch systems of up to thirty-seven pitches per octave. An example is "Custer's Ghost to Sitting Bull" (1995), on a text imagined as spoken by General George Custer after the Little Bighorn debacle."

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