Three Loops for Performers and Tape Recorders

title page of score
Courtesy the Artist and Greene Naftali, New York

In Tony Conrad’s Three Loops for Performers and Tape Recorders, musicians and tape players are equal partners. The score gives instructions for the performing musicians to choose from a number of instruments and play pre-defined intervals in an arbitrary order. The sounds thus produced are recorded with a tape recorder, with a short delay, that tape is played back on a second recorder. The sound created in that way not only mixes with the sequences of notes produced live, but is also immediately recorded again, with a small delay, and so on. During the only performance of this piece at the Harvard-Radcliffe Music Club in December 1961, each of the three sections (Chant, Aria, Din) ended in cacophonic feedback which, as Conrad remarked, provide an intrinsic part of the performance, and need not be deplored.



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