In the fall of 2010 television commercials for the Apple iPad ("iPad is Delicious") began appearing in North America (and possibly elsewhere as well) with music so captivating that the first time I saw it I immediately stopped what I was doing and notated the music, which consisted primarily of just three notes (F♯ A B), repeated many times. What made it interesting was the rhythm: There are three repetitions of the three pitches in every bar, but with a different rhythm and emphasis each time: This one bar "loop" is repeated nine times in the commercial, and is an example of musical minimalism.
I found it a fascinating musical idea, and, as I often do when I hear music I like, I wondered where the motive might go if taken in a different direction. And thus, literally within seconds of hearing the commercial, I began writing this piece. The first thing I discovered was that my composition quickly veered away from minimalism, and 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 into it and discovered that Apple was using the beginning of a song by Chilly Gonzales, called "Never Stop."
Interestingly, this repetitive one-bar motive was originally used in "Music for 18 Musicians," section VIII, by American minimalist composer Steve Reich. It seems likely that Gonzales, described in a Wikipedia article as having been "classically-trained as a pianist at McGill University," heard or even performed the Reich work whose basic motive he appropriated, and it made me wonder how Reich felt about having his music appropriated in this way.
For those who listen closely to these things, the rhythm of the motive that I use is very slightly different than that used in the Reich and Gonzales piece because my initial transcription mistakenly changed the duration of one of the notes; by the time I became aware of this, I had grown fond of my slightly-altered version, so I didn't change it. A more significant distinction is that after the first bar, my piece goes in a completely different, but hopefully enjoyable, direction.
The audio file is a computer-generated, Finale performance, played through a Kontakt 2 Steinway grand piano.
©Clark Winslow Ross
Other works for piano by Clark Ross you might enjoy:
Dream Dance (A wild, virtuosic, perpetual motion joyride; 2007)
Domenico 1° & 2° (Two sonatas inspired by Scarlatti; 2009)
Last Dance (Juno nominated slow tango, called "haunting and beautiful" by Jon Kimura Parker; 1999)
Jennifer's Tune (A pretty tune (for piano and bass) for my wife; 2005)
Julia's Prelude (A pretty tune for my daughter, in the style of Schumann; 1996)
Keep on Truckin' (Boogie-woogie blues with a dash of Mussorgsky in the middle; 2010)
Blues for Jim (Both a lament and a celebration of the life of Jim Croce; 2010)
Late Night Music (Jazz-inspired work for trumpet, piano, drum kit, and bass)