The Evolution Of Minimalism

1839 Words8 Pages
The post 1945 period saw a considerable amount of changes in music. Different styles emerged, such as serial music, electroacoustic music, minimalistic music, and many others. Minimalism originated in ‘downtown’ New York City ring the early 1960s, and was initially considered to be a form of experimental music, as it was a totally different style of music as to what Stravinsky or Shostakovich wrote. Richard E. Rodda’s view on Minimalistic music was that it was based upon multiple repetitions of slowly changing chords. Minimalism evolved due to the ambitions of composers during that time. Many early minimalist composers, especially those from California and ‘downtown” Manhattan during the 1960s and 70s wanted to break down the barriers between…show more content…
Although this term, in general, surrounds a “movement in music featuring repetition and iteration” (New World Encyclopedia), The ideal definition of minimalistic music from the Oxford Dictionary of Music is “a term borrowed from the visual arts to describe a style of composition characterized by an intentionally simplified rhythmic, melodic and harmonic vocabulary” (Grove Music Online). La Monte Yong, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass were the widely considered pioneers of minimalism who, according to Keith Potter in his article “Minimalism” from ‘Grove Music Online’ website, have contributed much to the evolution of minimalistic music. This essay discusses the music of one of these pioneers, Stephen Michael (Steve) Reich, born on 3 October 1936 In New York City, who is one of the most famous composers whose style of compositions is classified to be…show more content…
At this point, Steve Reich was experimenting was tapes samples and microphones to produce new sounds. Reich soon began to push the limits of modern music, and started to write his pieces very differently as compared to his later works, starting from the mid 1970s. Despite the fact that his music contained relatively large amounts of minimalistic elements and phasing, which is defined as “a term denoting the effect achieved when two instrumentalists or singers perform the same musical pattern at different intervals of time” (Oxford Music Online) in them, together with the addition of new instruments or electronic sounds, it was his 1976 composition Music for 18 Musicians that expanded his compositional talents and changed the way he expressed his thoughts through his music. Steve “Reich himself has argued that the point of maximum change did not come until around 1979” (Potter 151). However, it is also arguable that Music for 18 Musicians is one of the pieces that gradually caused the point of maximum change to occur around 1979 as the piece is written differently in a number of ways as compared to the typical writing style of Reich’s earlier works, therefore making it one of the first works of Reich to see these changes, an alternative paradigm within his own works. An alternative paradigm is defined as “an alternative to a typical example or pattern of
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