Minimalist Music

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The old joke about Minimalist Music goes: “Knock knock. Who’s there? Knock knock. Who’s there? Knock knock. Who’s there? Philip Glass.” As an innovator and promoter of minimalism, Philip Glass brought that uneasy listening experience of repetition and static melody to a concert-going audience. Now minimal music is leaving academic concert halls for dance clubs and raves where ambient electronica and looped beats rule.

The essential elements are the same: minimalism is meant to be simple, repetitious, melody-averse and pattern heavy. It leans on physics and mathematics as much as rhythm and harmony. It studiously avoids self-reference to the canon of Western composition, and demands a high level of concentration from its listeners. From Terry Riley to Stereolab, Arnold Dreyblat to Tortoise, the less-is-more music of minimalism is more or less getting maximum exposure.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Arnold Dreyblatt, composer and performer of minimalistic music

Evan Ziporyn, Professor at MIT

and Jeff Lieberman, guitarist, recent graduate of MIT.