terry riley’s dream music / keyboard study #2, from aspen no. 9 (with its companion text by la monte young)


Terry Riley – Dream Music / Keyboard Study #2 (1967)

As part of my continued profiling of the sound based components of the legendary Aspen Magazine, here is the score for Terry Riley’s Dream music / Keyboard Study #2. I was contained in Aspen #9 – themed the Psychedelic Issue, and included contributions by Angus MacLise, Hetty MacLise, Ira Cohen, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, Gerard Malanga, and John Cale, among many others. On the reverse of Riley’s score was printed La Monte Young’s text Dream Music. I am yet to find an image of this side, but have included a transcription of that text bellow. I’m also including audio for¬†Dream music / Keyboard Study #2 which appeared the following year as part of BYG’s Actual series, as well as images of the contents of Aspen #9. I hope you enjoy.

Terry Riley – Dream Music / Keyboard Study #2 (1967)



La Monte Young

In Dream Music there is a radical departure from European and even much Eastern music in that the basis of musical relationship is entirely harmony. Not European harmony as textbooks have outlined it, but the intervallic proportions and acoustical consequences of the particular ratios which sound concomitantly in the overtone series when any simple fundamental is produced. Melody does not exist at all (The Disappearance of Melody) unless one is forced to hear the movement from group to group of various simultaneously sounded frequencies derived from the overtone series as melodic because of previous musical conditioning. Even before the first man moved successively from one frequency to another (melody if you like) a pattern for this movement, that is the relationship of the second frequency was already predetermined (harmonically) by the overtone structure of the fundamental of the first sound. And in the life of the Tortoise the drone is the first sound. It lasts forever and cannot have begun but is taken up again from time to time until it lasts forever as continuous sound in Dream Houses where many musicians and students will live and execute a musical work. Dream Houses will allow music which, after a year, ten years, a hundred years or more of constant sound, would not only be a real living organism with a life and tradition all its own but one with a capacity to propel itself by its own momentum. This music may play without stopping for thousands of years, just as the Tortoise has continued for millions of years past, and perhaps only after the Tortoise has again continued for as many million years as all of the tortoises in the past will it be able to sleep and dream of the next order of tortoises to come and of ancient tigers with black fur and omens the 189/98 whirlwind in the Ancestral Lake Region only now that our species has had this much time to hear music that has lasted so long because we have just come out of a long quiet period and we are Just remembering how long sounds can last and only now becoming civilized enough again that we want to hear sounds continuously. It will become easier as we move further into this period of sound. We will become more attached to sound. We will be able to have precisely the right sounds in every dreamroom playroom and workroom, further reinforcing the integral proportions resonating through structure (re: earlier Architectural Music), Dream Houses (shrines, etc.) at which performers, students, and listeners may visit even from long distances away or at which they may spend long periods of Dreamtime weaving the ageless quotients of the Tortoise in the tapestry of Eternal Music.



Cover of Aspen #9 by Angus MacLise and Hetty MacLise

aspen 9

Contents of Aspen #9



Contents of Aspen #9



Contents of Aspen #9



Contents of Aspen #9


-Bradford Bailey



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