Philip Glass – Music in Twelve Parts – October 8, 2023 Philharmonie de Paris


The origins of techno are often traced to the late 1980s in Detroit, a deeper dive into musical history reveals a precursor: Philip Glass’s Music in Twelve Parts.

Composed between 1971 and 1974, Music in Twelve Parts is a minimalist masterpiece that predates the emergence of techno by more than 20 years. The parallels between Glass’s composition and the electronic genre are striking. Both share a fascination with repetition, utilizing looping patterns and phrases to create an entrancing, hypnotic effect. The music builds and evolves gradually, layering textures and introducing subtle variations that keep the listener engaged.

While Music in Twelve Parts is acoustic, its rhythmic drive and repetition resonate with the core elements of techno. The hypnotic quality of Glass’s composition, its ability to transport listeners into a trance-like state, mirrors the immersive experience that techno enthusiasts seek on the dance floor.

Philip Glass’s work has been cited as an influence by numerous techno pioneers, including Derrick May and Richie Hawtin. These artists recognized the transformative power of repetition and minimalism, drawing inspiration from Glass’s groundbreaking composition. Many other techno artists, such as Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, have also cited classical composers as influences.

In a 1993 interview, Derrick May said, “I love Philip Glass. I think he’s one of the greatest composers of all time. His music is so repetitive and trance-inducing, but it’s also very complex and challenging. I think he’s a real genius.”

Music in Twelve Parts’ influence on techno’s development is undeniable. Glass’s exploration of repetition, minimalism, and trance-like states paved the way for the emergence of techno, shaping its sonic landscape and captivating audiences worldwide.

Glass himself acknowledged the connection between his work and techno, stating, “I think techno is great music. It’s very repetitive, but it’s also very trance-inducing. It can take you to another place.”

Philip Glass’s Music in Twelve Parts is a precursor to techno, a testament to the transformative power of minimalist music and its ability to transcend genres and eras. Glass’s composition laid the groundwork for the hypnotic rhythms and immersive experiences that define techno, solidifying its place as a pivotal work in the evolution of electronic music. And we at Peace of mind feel that the music sounds incredibly contemporary even 50+ years after is conception.

6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.: Parts 1-3
15-minute break
7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.: Parts 4-6
1-hour intermission
8:45 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Parts 7-9
15-minute break
21 :45 – 22:30: Parts 10-12

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