Minimalism

Reich 1Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Terry Riley, three of the pioneers of minimalist music

Minimalist music often features:

  • layers of ostinati
  • constantly repeated patterns that are subjected to gradual changes
  • layered textures
  • interlocking repeated phrases and rhythms
  • diatonic harmony

The combined effect can be almost hypnotic.

Diatonic means using notes which belong to the key rather than chromatic notes, which are outside the key.

Ostinati are rhythmic, melodic or harmonic patterns, which are repeated many times.