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Electronic Music Innovations

           There have been many artists who have contributed to electronic music, but in my opinion, Terry Riley contributed the most. He is a composer who has deep influences in smooth jazz and classical Indian music. Riley is known for experimenting with different modal figures each having different lengths (his song, In C is one of the most notable for this technique). He is best known for his work done on the keyboard, which is usually a key instrument in electronic music.

            He created the album A Rainbow in Curved Air back in 1969, which has influence games, radio and musicians. He has been known to experiment with minimalist music and has been a celebrated musician for a very long time. His most famous piece of work, In C, had been dubbed “the first masterpiece of minimalism” and ultimately won the ears of many listeners on the west coast. Despite the name In C not all of the musical samples and melodies he took were in the key of C. The song itself had 53 musical modules. Despite the piece being an elaborate work of art, it flows very smoothly and has a great tone. Many have described it as having a “hippy” sound to it. It is a very beautifully written song, and was first performed by Steve Reich Pauline Oliveros, Morton Subotnick and Jon Gibson. The song is very lose, with C being pressed on a keyboard to help everyone else performing keep the tempo. Each performer loosely goes through the different modules.

            He had stated that he loved working electronic music but seemed to be drawn to acoustical sounds more. Because of this, Riley has spent more time creating acoustical pieces now than electronic pieces. But no one can really deny he had a huge role in developing and influencing electronic music. He will continue to influence artists today, you can hear his influence in many songs written and performed even now,


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