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Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music$
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Michael Broyles

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100457

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100457.001.0001

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Minimalism and Strange Bedfellows

Minimalism and Strange Bedfellows

(p.243) Chapter 10 Minimalism and Strange Bedfellows
Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music

Broyles Michael

Yale University Press

As John Cage and the academic serialists pursued their apparently contradictory aesthetics on the East Coast, another compositional wave was taking shape on the edge of the Pacific. Known as minimalism, it was led by La Monte Young, the only composer in the history of Western music who has so consistently exploited the use of long, sustained notes. Young became interested in just intonation and relied on nature and geography, in addition to the Mormon Church, to compose his music. While at Berkeley, Young's work influenced a fellow student, Terry Riley, who, like Young, was a highly skilled jazz improviser. Riley's In C, written for an ensemble of thirteen musicians accompanied by a light show, created a sensation and marked a turning point in minimalism. One of the performers in the premiere of In C was Steve Reich, a young musician from New York whose own minimalist direction also came from tape experimentation. Reich's Clapping Music can be compared with Philip Glass's One Plus One; both are characterized by simple scores consisting only of tapping or clapping.

Keywords:   minimalism, John Cage, La Monte Young, Western music, Terry Riley, In C, Steve Reich, Clapping Music, Philip Glass, One Plus One

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