Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Steve Reich's Tehillim: A Brief Discussion; Graduate Paper by Payman Akhlaghi, 2000, UCLA

Steve Reich (b. 1936)
American Minimalist Composer of
"Tehillim" (1981)
A Brief Discussion of Steve Reich's Tehillim (2000)
Author: Payman Akhlaghi

Graduate Paper Toward Degrees of MA & PhD in Composition (English, 18 pages)
Guidance: Prof. David S. Lefkowitz
Winter 2000, UCLA
Free to Read on Scribd
Shortened Link:

Excerpt 1:

Tehillim (1981) is an intriguing piece amongst Steve Reich’s entire oeuvre. While ‎its origins might be traced back to Reich’s earlier compositions, which had primarily ‎employed the so- called “phasing” technique as their main structural device, Tehillim ‎manifests more a departure from, than a continuation of, the phase period. Besides, ‎Tehillim seems as important within the general context of the post-modern minimalist ‎trends of the 80’s and beyond. Yet, because of its multifaceted musical conception, it ‎does not lend itself easily to a dichotomic stylistic categorization, i.e. it’s hard to place ‎Tehillim with much exactitude within either Reich’s own brand of modernist-minimalism ‎‎(or minimalist-modernism), or the post-modern musical world of the time. With Tehillim, ‎Reich clearly leaves behind the primacy of process and the supremacy of rhythm alone, ‎two of the conspicuous features of his earlier music, and instead, he embraces a more ‎comprehensive view of the composition’s sound-world, by devising longer melodic lines ‎and rhythmic patterns (as opposed to the previously short fragments), timbral diversity..."

Excerpt 2:

[...] Considering all of the above, I’d like to think of Tehillim as a precocious child of what I call The Age of Reconciliation. Tehillim is no more a reaction; it no more hatesthe past for the mere sake of internal cohesion, and at the same time, it avoids an unbridled eclecticism that would certainly compromise its musical integrity. This highly structured music, also exhibits an evident concern for the audience’s, as well as the performers’, perceptual capacity; beautiful melodies and colorful harmonies, each with their own modal implications, endow the meticulously constructed skeleton with a pleasing flesh. Timbral considerations and formal decisions further move the work away from what Reich has called the “didactic” aspect of his earlier music. Finally, all of these combine to relegate the perception of the processes themselves in favor of the overall sound world of the composition. [...]"

Payman Akhlaghi is a composer, pianist, and piano teacher, who offers piano lessons -- and lessons in composition and sightsinging -- in Western Classical and Pop, as well as Persian music, covering the Greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, West LA, Santa Monica, Brentwood Culver City, Encino, and their surrounding neighborhoods. Payman holds a BA and an MA both in Music (Composition) from UCLA, and he's currently working on his dissertation toward the degree of PhD, also in Composition. For information on lessons at your home, or performance engagements, please call: 
(310) 208-2927
 or send an email to

Piano Lessons Covering the Greater Los Angeles Area
Classical, Pop, Film, Persian Music
Solo Piano Performance at Private Recitals, Weddings, Receptions, etc.

پیمان اخلاقی آهنگساز، پیانیست و آموزندۀ فن نوازندگی پیانو، مقیم لس آنجلس است. پیمان دارای مدارک لیسانس و فوق لیسانس در رشتۀ آهنگسازی از یو سی ال ای است، و در حال حاضر مشغول کار بر تز دکترای خویش در همین رشته است. در صورتی که مایل به کسب اطلاعات بیشتر پیرامون تدریس در منزل خود و یا ارائۀ برنامه در کنسرت ها و مراسم عروسی یا اردوور هستید، لطفا با شماره تلفن یا ایمیل زیر تماس حاصل کنید:
(310) 208-2927
 or send an email to

[Payman Akhlaghi, (Peyman Akhlaghi), پیمان اخلاقی, Akhlagi, Aklagi, Aklaghi] 
[Classical Music, Aacademic Paper, Graduate Studies, Free to Read]

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