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iPad Riff Revisited…


by

composerclark

 Genre: Classical

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Description
The first time I saw the new iPad commercial, a couple of weeks ago, I was immediately struck by the music, the pitch content for which consists of a very catchy, three-note lick that is repeated in a seemingly-endless loop for the duration of the commercial. What makes it work is the rhythm; each of the three pitches is given emphasis at different times, with syncopations.

I thought it was a very cool idea, and, as I often do when I hear music I like, I wondered what I could do with that same musical material, so I immediately began writing this piece. The basic approach I take when composing is to allow the music to take me where it wants to go, and the first thing I discovered was that my piece immediately veered into a non-minimalist direction, unlike the music in the iPad commercial, so I just went along with it.

After a few days I began to wonder what the rest of the music used in the commercial sounded like, so I looked it up and discovered that Apple is using the beginning of a song by Chilly Gonzalez, called "Never Stop." Have a listen here, if you like.

As it turned out, I was significantly less impressed with the rest of the song than I had been with the opening, but no matter, my piece was going in a completely different direction, which was fine by me.

I did have the thought, however, that the Chilly Gonzalez song sounded vaguely like something by American minimalist Steve Reich, so I looked that up and discovered that Gonzalez appears to have lifted his repetitive, three-note motive from Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians," section VIII. Here's a link, if you want to have a listen: Music For 18 Musicians.

For those who listen closely to these things, the rhythm of the three-note motive that I used is slightly different than that used in the Reich and Gonzalez pieces; no particular reason, it just turned out that way.

So, this is me acting out on an impulse I often have when listening to others' music, which is to take some basic musical idea and take it in a different direction.

This is fully notated in Finale, and the audio file is also a computer-generated Finale performance played through a Kontakt 2 Steinway grand piano.

Note on the Title:, My first title for this was, "iPad Commercial Appropriates Steve Reich Lick; So Do I," but it seemed somewhat on the long, overly-wordy side, much like this song description, so I changed it to, "I Love My Wife's iPad." However, while my wife does have an iPad, I am not, technically speaking, in love with it, so I have now changed it again to "iPad Riff Revisited…" However, if you have any ideas for a catchier title, please suggest them! Thanks!
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Song Stats
Hits: 3889
Comments: 49
Fans: 22
Plays: 135
Downloads: 0
Votes: 5
Uploaded: Oct 12, 2010 - 04:43:01 PM
Last Updated: Oct 24, 2010 - 08:11:39 PM Last Played: Jan 29, 2017 - 03:17:02 PM
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Comments
MarkHolbrook said 2601 days ago (October 12th, 2010)
Hey
So awesome to see you again!
Check out my latest song called Corn Whiskey
composerclark said 2601 days ago (October 12th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Mark! Nice of you to drop by!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
kristyjo said 2601 days ago (October 12th, 2010)
Amazing
what three little notes can inspire.
Don't tell the iPad people, but I like your ditty better.
Check out my latest song called Sussex Carol
composerclark said 2601 days ago (October 12th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Kristyjo, but I actually don't mind if the iPad people want to use my composition, as long as I become rich as a result. The commercial would be pretty long, though, so they might not go for it...
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
sloparts said 2600 days ago (October 12th, 2010)
To tell the truth,
I was not impresses with the other two versions.

That said, I am much more inclined to like this one, Clark. While I got bored pretty early on listening to the eighteen musician, and the one from Chilly Gonzales, you piece has a lot more interesting stuff going on and is not boring at all. As a matter of fact, it is very interesting and entertaining.

So there ya go Clark, Ya done good man.

Be well and be cool

Ed
Check out my latest song called Quack's Blues
composerclark said 2600 days ago (October 12th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks for the comment, Ed, I really appreciate it! To tell the truth, I'm not crazy about the full version of the Chilly Gonzalez piece either... it's a fine opening, though, which is the only part the iPad commercial uses. As for Steve Reich, he may be an acquired taste for some, but I'm a fan. I think Music for 18 Musicians was the first album of his music that I bought, about thirty years ago. I wonder how he feels about Apple using something seemingly based pretty strongly on his composition for their iPad commercial...

The big difference between my piece and the other named works is that mine is in no way minimalist; the material and mood changes pretty frequently, although it is mostly based on that three-note motive.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Bowman said 2600 days ago (October 12th, 2010)
Of course
that ipad ditty immediately caught my attention and as with anything sonically interesting I started mind composing. But I didn't go nearly as far or in as many interesting places as you did with this full bodied beauty.

So many cool twists and variations to this make it a complete joy from start to finish Clark.
Great post.
Cheers,
Charlie
Check out my latest song called A FISTFUL OF PENNIES
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Charlie! Nice of you to leave a comment!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Corporal Beef said 2600 days ago (October 12th, 2010)
Glad to Hear Your Stuff Again
This meanders through melodies effortlessly, with just the right amount of tension between them. A thoroughly enjoyable listen. Thanks for posting.
Check out my latest song called (SRC 2013) SECCHI A CME0054
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks! I just had a listen to your Political Monkey song, and I think it's brilliant.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
perceptualvortex said 2600 days ago (October 12th, 2010)
iPad-y
I really enjoyed listening to this and reading the description. And I love my own iPad. I know it's unnatural, but the thing is addictive. I'm really pretty terrible with titles, but since you're looking for ideas, howbout "The Reich Stuff: a Backhanded Apple Serenade". Even if you decide not to use my title, it won't make me think this is any less great.
Check out my latest song called Mercury (RPM 6)
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks! I like your title! Just left a comment for your latest.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
jiguma said 2600 days ago (October 13th, 2010)
I like the rhythm
as much as the notes Clark - this seems more jazz than classical to me in the chords and the timing. I'm impressed that an iPad inspired these notes to fall together (one day I'll understand the question: "iPad ......why?").
A most enjoyable 5 and a haf minutes of listening.
Cheers,
Neil
Check out my latest song called We End Up Being All The Same (42)
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks! I see musical categories as being pretty general regions along a stylistic continuum, so classical sometimes spills over into jazz (e.g., Miles Davis' Echoes of Spain), and, probably more frequently, vice-versa (e.g., the Gershwin 3 preludes, Several Stravinsky works, some Ravel, and quite a few of the things I have written). The point has been made to me that an important distinction between jazz and classical is that classical is (mostly) fully notated, while jazz allows for solos. I think that's mostly true, but if a big band plays a transcription of a chart in which all solos are written out, does that make it classical? Of course not, any more than have improvised sections in an avant-garde classical composition makes that jazz; the overall style of the composition seems to be the basis on which most of us classify a work as "classical" or "jazz," and I'm with you, there are aspects of this that probably could fall into a jazz style. But it's all notated, with occasional nods to Bartok, so I went with classical as a category.

Also, just to clarify, the iPad itself didn't really inspire me, although I have come to learn through my wife (who has one) that it can be a lot of fun... it was the music used in its commercials over here that inspired me, but I'm not sure if they run the same commercials all around the world or what.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
867-5309 said 2600 days ago (October 13th, 2010)
glad I went back again to click
Building
Prompt
dots gradually connect
before the cement dries
a broken rolled up G# diminished broken chord at 2:51 is very effective - when surrounded by similar G# blocked chords just before and after -
textured as concrete evidence of a subtle execution - a gradual mutation lurking
within a jagged bed of lower rhythmic figures.

Check out my latest song called Taking Care Of Business
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks! As always, your comments are inspired and much appreciated!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
CIASM_ZENABI_ said 2600 days ago (October 13th, 2010)
ipad
well played and inventive, nice energy and feel. cheers
Check out my latest song called GLOWING IN THE DARK (2012 REMIX)
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks very much for the visit and comment! Just had a second listen to Glowing in the Dark and enjoyed it again. Cheers.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
VicDiesel said 2600 days ago (October 13th, 2010)
Disappointed
I thought you'd written a track on the iPad. (Check out one by me and one by Bubowski.)

But my disappointment disappeared quickly. Your elaboration of that lick is quite cool to listen to.
Check out my latest song called Black Recorder
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Glad you liked it. I tried to find an iPad track on your list of songs, but didn't see one that identified itself as such, but maybe I missed it ... I checked out Valse Electronique and enjoyed that.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Scott Carmichael said 2599 days ago (October 13th, 2010)
random comments
you've got a good brain.... and its attached to your heart...

none of my impulsive noodling ever resembles this....

we're like snowflakes...

look your music made me giddy....

no alcohol involved... honest
Check out my latest song called Dogwood
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Scott! I am always thrilled to get comments from you... Keep them random thoughts coming!

For me, a piece like this is like a crossword puzzle. I just tinker away at it for a couple of weeks at various times of the day and night until it seems finished. But it's not, say, a piece where I'm trying to pour my heart out through music... those are painful, this was mostly fun. Thanks again!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
tonestones said 2599 days ago (October 13th, 2010)
Thanks
I liked the idea of the music from the iPad commercial as well. I never thought of taking the next step and finding the original composition. Very cool.

I love what you've done with the concept. You've taken up several levels into something much more interesting.

Check out my latest song called Stairway to Heaven (LZ Cover)
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Glad you liked it! I just left a comment for your latest, which is quite wonderful.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
crissew said 2599 days ago (October 13th, 2010)
Ipad
Very sharp and precise keyboard work here. Some crazy chords and syncopations. Very well done!
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composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks, I really appreciate the comment!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
SpaceAlien said 2599 days ago (October 14th, 2010)
Embroidery of sound
Beautiful embroidery by simple musical instruments.

Check out my latest song called Space alien power plant
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks for your kind comment, visitor from another planet!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Ed Hannifin said 2598 days ago (October 14th, 2010)
Hi Clark...
This is a neat piece, and hard to describe...Intelligent and simple, and yet developing an elegant complexity... it's rhythmic, it's melodic...

And it passes the music test for me, which means that it's a real pleasure to listen to, and more than once...
Check out my latest song called Chime (Alone) (Inspired by Particle Dots)
composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Ed, your comments are always much depreciated. I mean appreciated. Yes; the latter! Given the popularity of the music used in the iPad commercial, I am expecting the video I made for this track to go viral. Any second now. Or now... Or not.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
BirdmanWayne94 said 2597 days ago (October 16th, 2010)
Sweet...
... tune! I like the jazzy changes, funky moves, and the classical vibe this has. A little bit of everything is always good! :) Good to see you here again.
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composerclark said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Birdman! It's great to see YOU again too! Very kind of you to leave a comment!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
ktb said 2596 days ago (October 16th, 2010)
I Love My Wife's iPad
Captivating. It is indeed a simple theme in the beginning but from there it grows, and much to my delight, into something quite intricate. So stream of consciousness here? Lots of cool improv if so. Killer sound Clark.
Check out my latest song called Blackwater (by Tokai)
composerclark said 2589 days ago (October 24th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks, ktb! To clarify, I try to compose in such a way that it sounds like a stream of consciousness, which entails many hours of fixing bits when it begins to sound like the piece is heading off the rails, but usually, there is no actual improv involved. I actually enjoy improvising a lot, but mostly on guitar, and it rarely finds its way into a composition. Not sure why...

Just left a comment for an older track of yours, a collab with thoddi, and I really enjoyed it!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
lengold said 2596 days ago (October 17th, 2010)
Absolutely
brilliant and a joy to listen to.
Cheers
Len

Check out my latest song called Decent Girl
composerclark said 2589 days ago (October 24th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks for the visit and listen, Len! Much appreciated. I think your recent collab with cchaplin is brilliant!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
guitapick said 2595 days ago (October 17th, 2010)
Wow...
...amazing...and I'm extremely impressed with your pursuit of the "musical truth", Clark.

This is very impressive...quite a composition and the playing's just as fine. Bravo!
Check out my latest song called 'Cuz I Can
composerclark said 2589 days ago (October 24th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Bob! Glad you were able to stop by. The "performance" is just a Finale rendering of the file, but I'm quite happy with it. There are literally hundreds of articulations and slurs notated in the score, and that seems to help make the MIDI rendering more realistic.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Warren Smith said 2595 days ago (October 18th, 2010)
Going where the song takes you
I like this kind of music, where you start off with a simple conception and then let if morph into something more complex.

One of the joys of composition is having the awareness when a piece wants to go in a different conceptual direction and then letting it take you along for a ride. I think this is a learned behavior. That is, for me, it seems to have happened more as I have written more over time, so I'm thinking I must have learned to be cognizant of this process. You may not always end up in a better place (I think some songs have mean streaks), but it usually results in something more artistically rewarding.

How do you know when a piece like this is finished? I suppose it is when it finally quits with its twists, turns and circlings.

I've been listening to Steve Reich music for almost 10 years now ... and I'm still not sure what to think of it. But I figure there's no reason to rush the decision : )


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composerclark said 2589 days ago (October 24th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

At a certain point in the process, I begin to get a sense of how long the piece I am working on "needs" to be, although I am frequently wrong about that. In this case, I was loosely following a form I often use for my compositions, which is related to sonata form: main idea... another idea, hopefully related to the main idea but not necessarily so, in a different key or pitch center... possibly yet another idea with yet another pitch center... lots of development, using different pitch centers, then a modified recapitulation so it sounds recognizably related to the opening material, but is different in some way... then a coda. Following a form, even loosely, helps me a lot along the way.

Just heard your latest, and enjoyed it, btw!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Tom Atwood said 2593 days ago (October 19th, 2010)
Did I even hear Gershwin?
I was about to leave a note in Forums about how I don't know anyone here, but then I saw a piece from you. I had the same reaction when I first heard the iPad music. But you have taken it several levels beyond--excellent Clark. So good to stumble upon your music again. (By the way, "Music for 18 Musicians" is one of my favorite Reich pieces.)
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composerclark said 2589 days ago (October 24th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Tom, it is great to see you here again! You were one of the main reasons I enjoyed the MacJams experience so much when I joined, so I hope you will have some time to visit and post tracks again. I know finding the time is a challenge, though; I have not had much of a presence here for the past couple of years, but I have a few new tracks I plan on uploading in the coming months.

Thanks again!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Char said 2591 days ago (October 22nd, 2010)
Awesome.
So, now I've listened twice. "I Padded Off and Ran With It" "Commercial Break" "Padding 'Round On A Chilly Morning"
Thanks for the Music.
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composerclark said 2589 days ago (October 24th, 2010)
Thanks
Paddy Chayefsky, Paddy's Pub, Paddy Wagon, knick-knack paddy-whack, Bachelor Pad, and Paddington Bear... These are all near and dear to me (although a bachelor pad perhaps less so, since I happily make my home with my wife, three kids, three cats, and a dog), and yet only the iPad gets named in any of my compositions... Why is that??? Gives me the Chillys...

Thanks for the listens and the wordplay!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Cameron said 2575 days ago (November 6th, 2010)
3-note rag? iPod rag?
The syncopated rhythms combined with percussive chords very much remind me of Scott Joplin's piano rag music, of all things. It has that same kind of flavor (or flaVOUR for you Canadians!), but in a very contemporary setting.

Maybe I'm in a ballet kind of mood tonight, catching up on my favorite MacJammers' music, but this sounds like it could very effectively accompany a modern dance piece. The repetition and punctuated chords and syncopation would lend itself excellently to accompany a dance performance.

I *LOVE* the deep, rich chords around the 5-minute mark.

It's wonderful to listen to another composition of yours here, Clark!

All best wishes,
Cameron


Check out my latest song called Trio for Horn, Violin & Piano
composerclark said 2575 days ago (November 7th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks as always, Cameron, for such a thoughtful and generous comment! I am very fond of dance, and I like to think that a lot of music would work well for dance... maybe I should look into that, see how it works....

It's a pleasure to hear from you, and thanks again!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
bitfeld said 2571 days ago (November 11th, 2010)
This is an amazing piece
Three notes starting such a grand journey! And on moments it brought back memories of certain Prokofiev's sonatas (well, maybe that's just me).
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composerclark said 2571 days ago (November 11th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks for your kind comment. I guess I can kind of hear some Prokofiev moments in there; it's an interesting comparison, one that I was unaware of, so thanks for that!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
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Name: Composition Blog
Location: St. John's Newfoundland Canada
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I've been teaching music composition and music theory at an east-coast university for 23 years, where I have also taught classical guitar and electronic music. I've been writing music for about 38 years, and still haven't figured out what I'm doing,... [see more]

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