Minimalism and Melody

'Minimalism' is a term that no composer likes for a phenomenon that almost no composer working since the late 1960s has avoided. Its essential qualities are two: an extreme reduction and simplicity of means, and repetition. Put in that way, it is nothing new: the introduction to Handel Zadok the Priest, for example, provides an instance of repetitive arpeggiation almost a quarter of a millennium before that became the norm in the music of Philip Glass. But where the function of minimalism in the Handel is preparatory-to provide a stretch of empty time, of non-music, in order to intensify anticipation of the music to come (Das Rheingold offers another such case) -- in Glass this is all there is. And minimalism as total, and as allpervasive, was indeed new in the 1960s; odd earlier examples ( Satie Vexations, Cage Music for Marcel Duchamp, and other pieces) had not been widely followed, and seem to have been rediscovered in the 1960s rather than to have been influential. The starting points (allowing that so strong a thrust is unlikely to have had just one) are more likely to be found in the music of La Monte Young.


New York Minimalism

In 1962, after his early pieces based on few, long notes and his Fluxus text scores, Young founded his own performing group, the Theatre of Eternal Music, to give performances of highly repetitive, drone-based music using carefully chosen frequencies in simple ratios.1 Ideally, his 'dream music' was intended for continuous performance in 'dream houses' as a 'total environmental set of frequency structures in the media of sound and light'.2 The frequencies could just be electronically generated sine tones, drifting very slowly in phase relationship and hence in perceived volume (Drift Studies,) or there could be live performers adding further frequencies, while the visual complement would be the 'ornamental lightyears tracery' of patterned slides and coloured lights designed by the composer's wife, Marian Zazeela.

In 1964 Young began to concentrate his attention on two projects: The WellTuned Piano, given as a solo improvisation through various themes and chords on a piano tuned to particular ratios,3 and The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys (so

____________________
1
See Dave Smith, ' Following a Straight Line: La Monte Young', Contact, 18 ( 1977-8), 4-9.
2
Note with Shandar83510.
3
See Kyle Gann: 'La Monte Young's The Well- Tuned Piano', Perspectives of New Music, 31/1 ( 1993), 134-62.

-209-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Modern Music and After
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Music Acknowledgements v
  • Contents xi
  • Prelude xiii
  • Part I - Beginning Again: from 1945 to the Early 1960s 1
  • Europe 1: Commencement, 1945-1951 3
  • America 1: Silencing Music, 1946-1952 21
  • Europe 2: Total Organization, 1949-1954 29
  • America 2: Classic Modernism 50
  • Europe 3: Achievement, 1953-1957 70
  • America 3: After Silence, 1952-1961 94
  • Europe 4: Mobile Form, 1956-1962 104
  • Elder Responses 116
  • Europe 5: Disintegrations,1959-1964 135
  • Part II - Six Waves and Five Masters: the 1960s and 1970s 149
  • Of Elsewhen and Elsewhere 151
  • Music Theatre 171
  • Politics 185
  • Virtuosity and Improvisation 191
  • Computer Music 207
  • Minimalism and Melody 209
  • Five Masters 225
  • Part III - Many Rivers: the 1980s and 1990s 237
  • Strings and Knots 239
  • Postlude 328
  • Repertory 330
  • Index 363
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 373

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.