Analysing Minimalist and Postminimalist Music: an overview of methodologies

Authored by: Tristian Evans

The Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Postminimalist Music

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409435495
eBook ISBN: 9781315613260
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042556

10.4324/9781315613260.ch12

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Abstract

Two important questions immediately spring to mind when considering the purpose of analysing music: first, ‘how does it work?’ and secondly, ‘what does it mean?’ Given the frequent dependency of minimalist music upon drones and/or repetition, certain issues might well be considered problematic for the analyst, such as the scarcity of materials employed, absence of dialectical structures, or the music’s purported lack of teleology and narrativity. Nevertheless, scholars have promoted an understanding of minimalism by examining its formal construction, motivic characteristics, aspects relating to temporality and repetition, the use of static harmonies and its interaction with other media in film, theatre, ballet, television and opera. By addressing these issues, they have examined its effect on the listener, thereby helping to answer the question ‘what does minimalism mean?’

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