Sony Classical
Release date
8 Mar 1988
Running length
2 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 In C (Instrumental) 41:57 204
1 In C 76:16 23,648

About this album

In C is a semi-aleatoric musical piece composed by Terry Riley in 1964 for any number of people, although he suggests “a group of about 35 is desired if possible but smaller or larger groups will work”. It is a response to the abstract academic serialist techniques used by composers in the mid-twentieth century and is often cited as the first minimalist composition.


- In C consists of 53 short, numbered musical phrases; each phrase may be repeated an arbitrary number of times. Each musician has control over which phrase he or she plays: players are encouraged to play the phrases starting at different times, even if they are playing the same phrase. The performance directions state that the musical ensemble should try to stay within two to three phrases of each other. The phrases must be played in order, although some may be skipped. As detailed in some editions of the score, it is customary for one musician (“traditionally played by a beautiful girl,” Riley notes) to play the note C (in octaves) in repeated eighth notes. This functions as a metronome and is referred to as “The Pulse”.

In C has no set duration; performances can last as little as fifteen minutes or as long as several hours, although Riley indicates “performances normally average between 45 minutes and an hour and a half.

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  • magdulik9


    24 Jul 2014 Reply
  • mesentux

    Mostly I was listeinig to this version, but it was from this disc "In C - 25th Anniversary Concert ". Update your tags.

    8 May 2014 Reply
  • TIWL

    A phenomenal, hypnotic trip into the unknown

    19 Mar 2013 Reply
  • bobgreen623

    How many versions of this are there? I can see how every time it's played it comes out different but wonderful. You can imagine this going on, literally, forever - as any number can play it, it would be open to people entering, playing for a while, going away, coming back a few days later, playing some more etc. All that's needed is the space to do it, so come on, let's do it!! The version I'm currently listening to (about 35 minutes) is absolutely wonderful

    7 Aug 2010 Reply
  • p_allen_music

    Listen. There is no know;edge. Listen!

    17 Dec 2009 Reply
  • axis90


    19 Apr 2009 Reply
  • nezzbian

    does anyone have any massive knowledge on this piece or any opinions on its form?i have to write a 3000 essay on its form... i;d appreciate any ideas.. email me

    2 Dec 2008 Reply
  • paoloyzx

    ..when the soul begin music

    6 Aug 2008 Reply
  • BNutzer

    I only discovered In C yesterday - that 76 minutes version and am enchanted. Where/how can I find that Ars Nova Copenhagen version on

    19 Feb 2008 Reply
  • Szpetny_Leon

    part 2 - Second one is Terry Riley - In C 25th Anniversary Concert (very good version from 1995, it takes 1 hour and 16 minutes)_______Third version is Terry Riley - In C Djembé [Ensemble Percussione Ricerca, Eddy De Fanti] (it is rather boring version for percussion ensemble - it is 41 minutes long)__Just try to downlad in c few times - you will get three different versions ;)

    9 Dec 2007 Reply
  • Szpetny_Leon

    part 1 - I've noticed that there is more than one version of IN C available on There are three versions actually (all under the same download free mp3 link) I get all of them and later search something about...The best one is In C [Ars Nova Copenhagen, Percurama Percussion Ensemble, Paul Hillier]for choir and marimba i guess(fantastic version -the best i've ever heard/55,16 minutes

    9 Dec 2007 Reply
  • iwatchon

    In C changed my perception of music along with Reich's Music for Eighteen Musicians.

    5 Dec 2007 Reply
  • AudioSynesthete

    One of my all-time favorite pieces of music. It's a close battle between this one and his A Rainbow in Curved Air.

    15 Aug 2006 Reply

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