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minimalism: Minimalism in Music

In music, the minimalist movement was, like minimal art, a reaction against a then-current style, with composers rejecting many of the dry intellectual complexities and the emotional sterility of serial music and other modern compositional approaches. Generally, minimalist compositions tend to emphasize simplicity in melodic line and harmonic progression, to stress repetition and rhythmic patterns, and to reduce historical or expressive reference. The use of electronic instruments is common in minimalist music, as are influences from Asia and Africa. Among minimalist composers are the more prominent Philip Glass , Steve Reich , Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and John Adams and the less well-known Terry Jennings, Dennis Johnson, and Julius Eastman.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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