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Minimalism

Exploring where minimalism sprung from, its key features and approaches to composing in a minimalist style
by

Tim Bradshaw

on 6 September 2012

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Transcript of Minimalism

MINIMALISM Minimalism developed in Downtown New York in the 60s. It sprung from the art culture with the likes of Yoko Ono opening up her loft to be used as a 'noise music' performance space, quickly becoming a trend. Consonant harmony
Steady pulse
Drone
Augmentation
Phase shifting Typical instrumentation is piano and an orchestra however there are other branches of minimalism ('processed music') that uses electronic instruments and post-production including genres such as IDM and Ambient Gradual transformation
Repetition
'Motifs'
Diminution
Displacement Features: "The idea of minimalism is much larger than most people realize. It includes, by definition, any music that works with limited or minimal materials: pieces that use only a few notes, pieces that use only a few words of text, or pieces written for very limited instruments, such as antique cymbals, bicycle wheels, or whiskey glasses. It includes pieces that sustain one basic electronic rumble for a long time. It includes pieces made exclusively from recordings of rivers and streams. It includes pieces that move in endless circles. It includes pieces that set up an unmoving wall of saxophone sound. It includes pieces that take a very long time to move gradually from one kind of music to another kind. It includes pieces that permit all possible pitches, as long as they fall between C and D. It includes pieces that slow the tempo down to two or three notes per minute" – Michael Nyman Labradford
'1' Terry Riley
'A Rainbow in
Curved Air' Brian Eno
'An Ending' Electronic Acoustic Steve Reich
'Music for 18
Musicians' Le Monte Young
'A Well Tuned
Piano' Philip Glass
'Opening' Composing your own Minimalist piece... Aims/WALT: Outcomes/WILF: To explore Minimalism, its key features and to recognize them in pieces To be able to write or perform a piece of Minimalist music Rhythmic Harmonic Rhythmic displacement / phasing is a simple but effective tool used in Minimalism. Try this exercise: Listen to Steve Reich's 'Clapping Music' to see how a more complex of this effect sounds... Another technique is by using Augmentation and Diminution. To augment something is to stretch it, whereas, to diminish something is to compress it. Take the same rhythm as before but this time stretch or compress random note groups. For example, turn two quavers in to semi-quavers or turn two quavers in to two crochets... For sake of ease we will use one of three scales:

C major: C D E F G A B C
F major: F G A Bb C D E F

C Pentatonic: C D E G A

If you layer up notes from within these scales they will form harmony. The 'type' of harmony is based on how far away the note is from the beginning note. How 'far away' the notes are we call the interval.

For example, in F (which is 1), G would be a 2nd, D would be a 6th, Bb would be a _____ and E would be a ______. This is important because each interval has a different sound. | | A A A A | A A A A | A A A A|

| C C C C | C C C C | C C C C | C C C C |

| | | E E E E | E E E E |
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