Minimalism By Minimalist music mainly started somewhere around the late 1960’s. The composers who worked with this type of music, were called ‘’Minimalists’’, and were normally American. The origins of Minimalist music can be traced to the music of Anton Webern whose music was based on the mathematical arrangement of musical elements. One main composer of minimalism was called Philip Glass. After researching music in North Africa, India and the Himalayas, he decided to return to New York and began to apply the eastern techniques to his own work. By 1990, Glass was regarded as an established star of Minimalist music. Glass mainly worked with and on percussion ensembles, string quartets, orchestral works, operas and soundtracks. Another important composer of Minimalism was John Adams who was born in 1947. After graduating from Harvard University in 1971 he moved to California, where he taught and conducted at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for ten years. Minimalist Music usually has a strong sense of pulse which gives the music its energy and engine like feel. Often the pulse is repeated crotchets or quavers. The tempo tends to stay the same even if there are changes of time signature. Minimalist music has a Hypnotic quality to it. Minimalist Music is usually Tonal and tends not to be Dissonant. Melodic ideas are simple and repeated as loops or ostinatos. The texture of the music is normally polyphonic and layers are added on. The use of electronic instruments is common in minimalist music. Minimalist compositions tend to emphasise repetition and rhythmical patterns. The patterns normally vary over long stretches of time, often so that the listener cannot notice the changes easily. The main concept behind minimalist compositions is to use of a small amount of musical material. The minimalist type of music has now also spread into pop music and most notably into techno music.
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