David Lang and the so-called laws of nature



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David Lang is a celebrated American composer whose unique voice often employs strict, process-based compositional techniques. His works exhibit a mastery of contrapuntal techniques rooted in early music but also follow the experimental tradition of twentieth-century American music. The so-called laws of nature is a complex composition for percussion quartet in which every note is part of a larger pattern. The analysis presented here reveals each of these processes and their relationship to the formal organization of the work. Many of the processes used in the so-called laws were first used in earlier works, most importantly memory pieces; this is a particularly strong element of the composer’s style. A deeper understanding of the organization of this composition will be useful for any musician that is presenting a performance of the so-called laws of nature.



Lang, David, The so-called laws of nature, Memory pieces, Percussion quartet, So Percussion, Bang on a Can