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Minimalist Presentation by Ishanvi & Shuban







Minimalism is an art movement that began in post-World War II Western art. The movement covered music, visual arts and other mediums, but is most strongly associated with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. Some common features of the genre are layers of ostinato, layered textures, interlocking repeated phrases and rhythms and diatonic harmony.


Many minimalist compositions feature repeated phrases that very gradually change by adding extra beats, altering durations, or changing single notes.

Phasing is based on the classical tradition of the canon, where multiple performances of the same line of music played at different start times.

In music, drones are long and sustained sounds, such as notes and chords. They carry on for long periods of time without variation and are often used for an ambient effect. There is often no distinguishable rhythm in a musical drone.

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La Monte Young is an American composer, musician and performance artist who is recognized as one of the first American minimalist composers. He is best known for his exploration of sustained tones beginning with his 1958 composition 'Trio for Strings'. Young was born in Bern, Idaho. As a child he was influenced by the droning sounds of the environment, such as blowing wind and electrical transformers which is one of the things that affected his musical journey.

Here is an example of one of La Monte Young's compositions.

Minimalist music is based upon the repetition of slowly changing common chords in steady rhythms, often overlaid with a lyrical melody which is in long, arching phrases.

# Fact One

Minimalism originates from America and developed during the 1960’s and 1970’s. It was a reaction to the ‘rebirth’ of serialism in western music after Schoenberg’s death in 1951.

# Fact Two

The idea of minimalism is much larger than many 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

# Fact Three

  • Wind Quintet
  • Sarabande
  • Young's Blues

La Monte Young

La Monte Young is commonly recognised as the first composer of Minimalist Music. His 'Trio for Strings' and 'Well-Tuned Piano' show his experiment with droning textures and slow harmonic progressions which is now commonly recognised as Minimalist Music.

Some of his pieces include:

  • Satyagraha
  • Metamorphosis
  • Opening

Some of his pieces include:

Eastern Music

In 1966, Philip Glass made the first of his many trips to India. Before long, the Hindustani classical music of northern India would be as much an influence on him as Bach and Mozart. He produced numerous operas, film scores, string quartets, and orchestral pieces that explored various timbres and tonalities.

  • Clapping Music
  • Electric Counterpoint
  • Different Trains

Some of his pieces include:

Steve Reich's influence

Shortly after Terry Riley, Steve Reich who was from New York began his music journey. His first minimalist composition was called 'It's Gonna Rain' which is based on a heavily manipulated tape recording by Brother Walter.

  • The Photographer
  • Mad Rush
  • Einstein on the Beach

Some of his pieces include:

Philip Glass

Philip Glass also had an impact on minimalist music. Glass studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, which he considered the most formative part of his education. With Boulanger, Glass focused heavily on the works of J.S. Bach, which would greatly influence his approach to form and harmony.

  • Music with Balls
  • Church of Anthrax
  • One Earth, One People, One Love

Some of his pieces include:

Minimalism spreads

Not long after La Monte Young, a composer called Terry Riley came into picture as he composed a famous piece called 'In C' in 1960. His piece included many characteristics of Minimal Music.