What is the course about?
Minimalist classical music is associated mainly with the New York composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass, but what influenced them? What other composers are interested in repetition, process and gradual change? We will explore earlier influences from Satie and John Cage, the Fluxus movement and links to performance art. We will explore lesser-known minimalist composers like Julius Eastman and electronic music pioneer Eliane Radigue. We will look at Pauline Oliveros’s “deep listening” practices and contemporary minimal movements like the work of the Wandelweiser collective. Tutor:Edward Henderson [external website].
What will we cover?
- Satie and simplicity, consonance and repetition.
- John Cage’s string quartet and slowness
- Fluxus and La Monte Young
- Feldman and duration
- Process: Steve Reich’s tape music
- Philip Glass from the Philip Glass Ensemble to Einstein on the Beach
- Julius Eastman
- Deep Listening and Pauline Oliveros
- Electronic minimalism
- Contemporary minimal work: Laurence Crane, Wandelweiser and Eliane Radigue.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- understand the key foundational ideas behind minimal and minimalist music
- contextualise minimal and minimalist music in a wider cultural context of postmodernism
- start to develop broader understanding of modes of listening
- understand a wide range of familiar and new repertoire.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No prior knowledge of the subject is required. You do not need to read music to take this course (although we will look at music notation and scores occasionally). Some experience thinking and talking about movements in art and culture in the late c20th would be useful but not necessary.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Tutor presentation and explanation, including handouts, powerpoint slides or writing on a whiteboard
Guided listening and watching of audio and audio-visual examples
Class discussion and debate
Listening and reading outside class is encouraged and once enrolled further online resources will be recommended.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring a notebook and pen.
You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes and to read our year-long selection of courses, please see the blog post Music history: your guide to the 2019/20 programme which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details