This ingenious video shows you exactly how Steve Reich’s Clapping Music works (and it's hugely satisfying)

Steve Reich’s seminal percussion work ‘Clapping Music’ has a justified reputation as one of the most influential works of the 20th century. But how does it work?

steve reich clapping music visualisation

Reich’s original objective was to create a piece that could be performed by two musicians without instruments, using only their bodies to create the sound.

What looks like a fairly simple musical phrase soon turns into a bit of a headache as performers must gently phase two iterations of the same pattern until they become out of synch, then finally arrive back in perfect unison many repetitions later.

Interview: how Steve Reich wrote Clapping Music

This video, handily put together by YouTuber gerubach , shows the exact relationship between to the two phasing parties:

Make sure you applaud at the end.

Steve Reich

Steve Reich Composer Steve Reich

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