â€˜Minimalism isnâ€™t dead â€¦ it just smells funnyâ€™: phases in the Australian experience of minimal music
by Diana Blom
Paper presented at â€˜Minimalism â€” Architecture, Art, Performanceâ€™
a conference presented by Artspace and the University of Technology Faculty of Design architecture and Building, Saturday 3 July, 1999.
In 1968, Terry Rileyâ€™s In C, generally considered as the typical minimalist pulse piece (Mertens, 1983:41), was released on vinyl by Columbia Records in the U.S. This release put “â€¦minimalism onto the turntablesâ€¦” (Schwartz, 1996:44), bringing the sounds of what was an under-ground musical movement into local record stores (Strickland, 1993:167), and making it accessible in countries outside the US.
In C embodies a number of musical characteristics. These include multi-repetition (that is repetition beyond the usual), an unchanging, fast pulse, a small pitch set, a tonal centre, tertian harmonies, ostinati, and a process. Not all of these characteristics are found in all music labelled minimalist, and by themselves do not necessarily constitute a minimalist characteristic. They are, however, an integral part of much of the minimalist repertoire, and help define the style. Johnson states that when two or more of these features are in a piece, it would suggest that “â€¦the minimalist technique is a compositional feature of that piece” (Johnson 1994:751).
Australian music has often taken its impetus from musical ideas imported, or transplanted from abroad. My paper looks at and listens to the impact of American minimalism (musically speaking) on Australian composers, focusing on minimal music with a pulse, also referred to as pulse music, process art, hypnotic music, trance music, and repetitive music. Drawing on interviews with, and written responses from a number of Australian composers on their musical relationship with American minimalism, and other sources, I find that for many Australian composers born in the 1930s and 40s, American minimalism was a confirmation and an affirmation of ideas to which they were already committed, rather than an entirely new aesthetic. For many these ideas had been influenced by repetition in the sound and construction of musics of other cultures, especially the music of Asia, and in particular the repetitive, interlocking rhythmic layers of many musics of Indonesia and Bali. For other Australian composers born in the 1960s, American minimalism has been an important influence and a resource in their composition, but along with other musical influences, some of which share similar musical characteristics.
I will begin by outlining the impact of transplanted â€˜musicsâ€™ on Australian music, point out Australiaâ€™s political, social, and artistic influences from Asia in the late 1960s, and discuss what message repetitive minimal music conveys. I will then focus on the music of three Australian composers from two different generations, who incorporate compositional techniques associated with minimalism, in their music. These composers are Robert Lloyd born in the late 1940s, Andree Greenwell born in the early 1960s, and Matthew Hindson born in the late 1960s.
The history of music in Australia has often drawn on ideas, styles and aesthetics from other countries, especially England and Europe, through the movement of people from and to Australia. In 1967 Roger Covell described Australian music as “â€¦a European musical culture transplanted by Europeans to a country not in Europe; a theme paralleled in the experience of several other countriesâ€¦” (Covell 1967:xi). He reminds us that the founding of Australia coincided musically, with “â€¦the full pride of the Viennese classical traditionâ€¦” (2) and suggests that this was one major reason why the music of the Aborigines “â€¦could hardly have been less accessible to the settlers who encountered it.” Instead of absorbing sounds and influences from the indigenous people, the settlers who were trained musicians “â€¦adopted a second-hand variant of central European musical cultureâ€¦” (2). This was equally true for folk music as for art music and the influence of European musical trends has continued to impact on Australian music through the twentieth century.
The earliest sightings and hearings of American minimal music in Australia date from the late sixties through scores and recordings. In 1968 Michael Hannan heard Terry Rileyâ€™s In C, the year of its release by Columbia (Hannan, questionnaire). My own memory is of hearing Rileyâ€™s A Rainbow in Curved Air issuing forth from Winsome Evansâ€™s study at the University of Sydney Music Department in either 1971 or 72. The work had been released in 1968 by Columbia and its sound, the coverâ€™s art work and text remained clear in my memory without any knowledge of the term â€˜minimal musicâ€™. Ros Bandt remembers Keith Humble bringing a score of Steve Reichâ€™s Violin Phase back to Melbourne in 1972-73.
In Sydney, David Ahernâ€™s AZ Music presented “Musifilm” at the Waratah Spring Festival in 1972. Here Steve Reichâ€™s O Dem Watermelons, and Plastic Haircut, Rileyâ€™s Music with Balls, and Cornelius Cardewâ€™s Journey to the North Pole (Musifilm 1972) were shown. Around the same time, in the early 1970s, AZ Music performed a programme that included Rileyâ€™s In C plus works by La Monte Young, Robert Ashley, and John Cage. (AZ Music early 1970s).
Yet before these early appearances of American minimalism, Australian composers were incorporating into their music compositional characteristics associated with minimal music, especially multi-repetition, an unchanging pulse, a small pitch set and a tonal centre. For many, the musics of Asia, in particular of Indonesia, were the source. Writing in the late 1960s-early 1970s for the cover notes to an LP of Tabuh Tabuhan by Peter Sculthorpe, Covell points out the value of Balinese and Indonesian musics to some composers, despite no particular relationship with the area other than proximity. “Though Australia is not culturally akin to Bali in any important sense, it seems reasonable that Baliâ€™s relative geographical proximity to Australia should help to give some Australian composers a heightened awareness of the value and richness of Balinese and other Indonesian musical traditions” (Covell undated).
**Australia and Asia – politically**
Politically and socially Australia did have a â€˜particularâ€™ relationship with other countries in Asia during the late 1960s-early 1970s â€” especially Vietnam and China, and by 1972 10,000 non-white immigrants were admitted into Australia each year, many of them Asians.
Socially and to a large extent, culturally, the 1960s saw Asian countries become places where young Australians chose to travel, rather than ports visited en route from Australia to England. These encounters helped change Australian attitudes to Asian peoples and their cultures. In The Lucky Country, published in 1964, Donald Horne wrote of the view of some young people that “weâ€™re all Asians now”, and said he took that view himself. He urged Australians “to seek for similarities in Asians and mutual interests [which] could lead to a creative awakening among Australians” (Horne 1964/1984:120).
**Australia and Asia – artistically**
Australiaâ€™s artistic relationships with Asia in the 1960s and early 1970s, like its social relaltionships were warmer, more intimate and fruitful than its political relationships. Donald Friend settled in Bali from 1966 to 1980 where he “â€¦wrote, painted, observed local events, and formed associations with other painters and his neighbours which were as important to his work as the landscape” (Broinowski 1992:78-79). During the 1960s a number of Japanese potters came to Australia and Broinowski comments that “no list can do justice to all the Australian potters for whom contact with Asia became a stimulus” (89). She identifies “the folk tradition and the aesthetic of Japanese farmhouses” (91) as inspiration for the â€˜nuts and berriesâ€™ school of architects of the 1960s in Sydney â€” Ken Woolley, Phillip Cox, Philip Johnson and others.
Sculthorpeâ€™s interest in musics outside the European art music tradition stemmed from a desire to reflect an Australianness in his music â€” static/unchanging harmony reflecting the “unchanging vista”, the “long walk”; repetition through the repetition of the vista, and of stones encountered on the walk. Debussyâ€™s use of repeated two-bar phrases building into larger structures was an early influence on Sculthorpe, and in the late 1950s, he had first made conscious use of a pedal derived from the sound of the didgeridoo (Sculthorpe, interview). Donald Peart (1966) writing in 1966 noted that the music of Asia had not only began to colour the music of composers such as Sculthorpe and Gillian Whitehead, but also had “â€¦already done much to determine the trend of their ideas” (1966:17). The “process” music of Balinese rice pounding, the repetitive, interlocking rhythms made when rice is pounded with poles of different lengths and densities producing different pitches, first appeared in Sculthorpeâ€™s String Quartet Music (String Quartet No.8) of 1969.
For Covell “what is interesting in examining the music of a transplanted culture is to observe what happens to music when it is transplanted and in the course of this, perhaps, to gain further insight into what is durable or valuable or universally applicable in the original culture” (Covell 1967:xi). The minimalist-like characteristics of the sound of the Indonesian gamelan, and rice pound music – repetition, small pitch set, narrow register â€” and the resulting hypnotic effect emerge in a number of Sculthorpeâ€™s works from the 1960s. “Balinese borrowings” (Gerster and Bassett 1991:126) as Gerster and Bassett describe this influence, first appear in Sculthorpeâ€™s Sun Music III.
Composed for the 1968 Adelaide Festival, Sculthorpeâ€™s wind quintet with percussion, Tabuh Tabuhan, at times, echoes the repetitive, interlocking patterns of the gamelan. The Balinese title means “all kinds of gamelan music”, and Mellers (1991) draws attention to the “non-evolutionary pentatonicism, the seductive sonorities, and the formal repetitiveness of Balinese gamelan music to its own ends” (95-96), all characteristics shared with minimal music.
Through his music and his teaching at the University of Sydney, Sculthorpe influenced a large number of musicians, composers and ethnomusicologists.
Sculthorpeâ€™s String Quartet No.8 of 1969 and Tabuh Tabuhan (1968) for wind quintet and percussion by Sculthorpe, both works containing characteristics associated with minimalism, were influences on Ross Edwardsâ€™s compositional language. (Edwards, interview). Sculthorpeâ€™s interest in Balinese music was in turn, a strong influence on Anne Boyd and Robert Lloyd who both visited Bali. 1973 was the year of Boydâ€™s first visit to Bali (later trips were made in 1976 and 1990) and the year String Quartet No.2 and As It Leaves the Bell were written. These works incorporate a number of characteristics associated with minimal music and also “games”, i.e. canons, rounds and repeated cantus firmi, repetitive structural processes adopted from medieval Europe, and found, later, in compositions by American minimalists (Boyd, interview). Anklung (1974) for solo piano takes its title, the four-note scale on which it is based, and its repetitive construction from the Indonesian gamelan bamboo ensemble. Michael Hannan names works of Sculthorpe with “minimalist tendencies” as having made the biggest impact on his music. (Hannan, questionnaire).
Other non-Western musics have provided ideas for composers. For Ross Edwards there has been the influence of the interplay of Madagascan voices in a Henry Cowell recording on his 1979 work Laikan (meaning â€˜flickeringâ€™), and an interest in Sufi music (Edwards, interview). David Kotlowy names Indian and Far Eastern musics as being the source of modality, and rhythmic additions and subtractions in some of his work (Kotlowy, questionnaire).
For some, pop and rock music have impacted on their work in especially personal ways, often through performing – playing repeated drum patterns, playing pop music on an accordion while growing up, playing rock in teenage years, listening to pop, rock and jazz.
Repetitive environmental sound sources have played an important role – the continuous rhythms and changing metres of the sounds made by crickets and cicadas in Edwardsâ€™ music (Edwards, interview); both Lloyd and Bandt worked with tape loops and tape recorders; Chesworth listened to bell ringers ringing the small pitch set, repetitive “changes” at the local church for eight years of his childhood as he lay in bed (Chesworth, questionnaire).
For many Australian composers born in the 1940s and early 1950s, the late 1960s to mid-1970s were the time when first contact with American minimalism was made. Anne Boyd met Steve Reich (Boyd, interview), and Michael Hannan heard Glass perform (Hannan, questionnaire). Warren Burt was in contact with Reichâ€™s music while studying in New York 1968 (Burt, questionnaire), and the music of minimalist and â€˜pre-minimalistâ€™ composers in the UK, Europe, Australia and the US has influenced a number of Australian composers.
This diversity of minimalistic influences on music of Australian composers is reflected in ideas as to the society minimalism represents. For Polin (1989), minimal music reflects America in the 1960s. Popular music of the time, through the words of protest songs by the Beatles, Baez or Dylan, was politically oriented, dealing with “â€¦alienation, racial bigotry, ecology, war, civil rights, and similar temporally urgent subjects” (Polin 1989:231). For Polin, however, minimalismâ€™s interest in eastern music, and the search “â€¦for more contemplative modes” (228) is essentially the rise of a non-intellectual movement (230) with its political content not so easily decipherable (232). Despite its ability to offer escape, she finds minimalism “â€¦represents a critical reaction to the condition of humanity in a complex and uncontrolled society” (238), and quotes Neumeyerâ€™s dictum of the 1950s, that “â€¦â€˜art tends to move away from contemporary cultural realities, even to the point where the artist creates for himself worlds that have not existed beforeâ€¦” (232). This is also part of Smallâ€™s discussion on minimalism.
Small (1977) chose one minimalist composition by American Terry Riley, to discuss the relation between music and “the potential society”. In Rileyâ€™s A Rainbow in Curved Air, Small finds that, among other directions, the human race recognizes its relationship to nature, where the time of clocks and the tyranny of the future can be transcended, the individual finds his proper relation to society (1977:209). Small comments on the workâ€™s â€˜non-harmonicâ€™ nature “â€¦which contains no tension, no development, no drama, exists wholly in the present and does not demand concentrated, steady listening” (209-210). He quotes from Rileyâ€™s vision of a potential society, described and painted on the record sleeve and finds, that despite their naivety, “â€¦the presence of those ideasâ€¦in the music of our century speaks clearly and eloquently of their presence within the matrix of our society, in however latent a form” (210).
This utopian society viewed positively by Small, is also seen negatively, as “not a solution but â€¦a symptom of the disease” (Mertens 1983:124). Here Mertens interprets Marcuseâ€™s views on the breakdown of dialectics in repetitive minimal music as “the desertion from history in favour of a utopian world”, but a utopian world in which the ego is broken down through induction of a hypnotic or religious state. With the breaking down of the ego comes a one-dimensional society, a society which accommodates the ruling monopolist powers. To quote Marcuse â€” “The breaking down of the ego-functions are intended to create and increase control and to strengthen the institutional monopolist powers” (Mertens 1983:124).
The composition by Australian composer, Michael Smetanin, Minimalism isnâ€™t dead â€¦ it just smells funny, the title of which heads this paper, is in one way, a kind of aural â€˜historyâ€™ of minimalism as it â€˜appropriatesâ€™ aspects of various works, some by American minimalist composers. In doing so, it encapsulates the diversity of sources from which Australian composers have drawn the characteristics associated with minimalism. Smetaninâ€™s title also reflects change in American minimal music in the 1980s, when he wrote his piece, a similar sort of change to that occurring in jazz when Frank Zappa made his earlier statement with cynical humour â€” â€˜jazz isnâ€™t dead â€¦it just smells funnyâ€™. In minimal music the change was from minimalismâ€™s tightly-constructed process pieces composed for small ensembles, to maximalismâ€™s expanded structures incorporating minimalist stylistic aspects with more frequent changes, often composed for large ensembles such as the orchestra.
For Robert Lloyd, born in 1948, the most common aspect in his compositional process is a strong rhythmic structure. In his words, “Most of the music is derived from rhythmic cycles played against each other, which you hear in a variety of different types of music. African music has it, Indian music has it, Balinese, and medieval and renaissance music have it, as well as many others” (Potts 1995:32). These derivations resulted in multiple down-beat structures and isometric patterning influenced by Indonesian music, canons, and rhythmic cycles. During 1972 and 73 Lloyd was working with tape recorders combining music in different metres. For Lloyd, hearing and seeing a Balinese gamelan in Sydney in the early 1970s played a pivotal role on his work Bhakti (1973-74) for glockenspiel, two vibraphones and bells. The title Bhakti means â€˜the yoga of love and devotionâ€™. After the composition of Bhakti, Lloyd went to Bali in 1975 and received tuition on the Peliatan gamelan of central Bali with gamelan player Wayan Gandra. For him this was a confirmation of what he had been doing.
To quote Lloyd: “In Bali I got a sense of the connection between music, dance, theatre, and variety of experiences” (Potts 1995:32). This connection runs throughout Lloydâ€™s compositions, and he has undertaken collaborations with artists in theatre, sculpture and dance.
A percussionist by training, and drummer with the 1960s band Tully, Lloyd says that “in a sense, you could say drumkit playing is minimalist because youâ€™re playing one rhythmic pattern for a long period before you start to embellish it” (The Drum Media 1992:51). The characteristics associated with minimalism which Lloyd identifies in his work are “repetition, limited pitch sets, rhythmic cycles â€” interlocking figures, two metres working at the same time, limited tone colour i.e. pure consort, limited register i.e. treating different registers of the piano as different instruments” (Lloyd, questionnaire). The release in 1974 of DGGâ€™s boxed set of works by American minimal composer Steve Reich, was, to Lloydâ€™s ears, similar to what he had been doing (Lloyd interview 1994). A familiar rather than a new aesthetic.
Nullabor, for three percussionists, was written in 1987 and became the score for Molissa Fenleyâ€™s 1993 dance work of the same name. Lloydâ€™s collaborative work with Fenley began after he read of her use of “canonic and simultaneous rhythm structures, sequences which run out of sync and then come together” (Britton 1987:109). These were the processes and procedures he had been investigating with percussion ensembles. Fenleyâ€™s experience came directly from her childhood in Nigeria, Lloydâ€™s from an interest in creating “a more melodic rhythmic music with the drum parts becoming more melodic and the melodic parts more percussive”.
Inspired by Lloydâ€™s childhood in Adelaide, a city situated on the edge of the central Australian desert and the Nullabor Plain, Nullabor incorporates an Aboriginal-inspired song in two different sets of drums. It embodies the repetitive rhythms of the train journey from Adelaide to Perth and the influence of the music of the Pitantjatjara people who live on the edge of the central Australian desert, and from whom he learnt songs and dance during his early education. Lloydâ€™s use of musical characteristics associated with minimalism results in music in which Christopher Small would recognise aspects of his â€˜potential societyâ€™. The sound, construction and structure of the musics of Bali are present in Nullabor, and remain an important part of Lloydâ€™s compositional style today.
Born in 1964, Andree Greenwell represents a later generation of Australian composer whose compositions incorporate minimalist characteristics. Her composition output includes a high proportion of works for theatre, either music for theatre, or operas. She does not mind the term minimal or minimalist being applied to aspects of her music, however reminds us that it is only one of many aspects of her music. Greenwell finds that when the press hear the reference to minimalism they often make inappropriate and grand illusions to Glass and other minimalist composers (Greenwell, questionnaire).
The characteristics in her work that she calls minimalist include her approach to harmony, motivic cells, rhythmic development of material, and also the new simplicity. “I like very simple but strong melody writing. Often I use a note per syllable as a starting point. Also, there is pleasure to be heard in this minimalism for both audience and performer. I am anti-hero â€” “Iâ€™m so fantastic I can write the hardest music that some poor bastard musician will never be paid enough to learn””.
Greenwell first heard the music of American minimalist composers while a student at the Victorian College of the Arts. The piece was Einstein on the Beach, one of Philip Glassâ€™s operas. She says: “The opening chorus blew me away â€¦I found the use of counting numbers as text, and the harmony beautiful. A lot of bass frequency”. She positively acknowledges the influence on her music of the music of American minimalist composers, mentioning the work of Adams, Glass, Reich and Monk. (Greenwell, questionnaire). However, within Greenwellâ€™s music one hears what Kouvaras describes as “a very wide variety of musical procedures, effects, cultural associations” which heighten the emotional highs and lows (Kouvaras 1999) and in doing so return the dialectic to her use of minimalist techniques.
Passion, originally written for the Sydney Frontâ€™s theatre work in 1993, is structurally based upon the story of Jesusâ€™ passion and uses voices, a chamber music ensemble and pre-recorded sound track of computerised and domestic sounds.
Laquiem: tales from the mourning of the lac women, composed in 1998, with a text by Kathleen Mary Fallon is written for chamber ensemble, and voices. The work employs a number of minimalist processes and devices similar to those of Passion, plus others. In her review of the work, Kouvaras refers to these as Greenwellâ€™s “trademark minimalist/process music kaleidoscopic shifts of rhythmic and harmonic structures; forays into the unpitched, aleatoric soundworld; sections revisiting Baroque and earlier soundworlds; and tonal/modal harmonies and melodies” (Kouvaras 1999:37). For me, Greenwellâ€™s use of minimalist characteristics in Laquiem juxtapose sounds which reflect the positivity of Smallâ€™s â€˜potential societyâ€™, with the, at times, harsh, crude reality of the story the singers tell.
Matthew Hindson was born in 1968. Like Greenwell he doesnâ€™t mind the term minimalist being applied to aspects of his compositional output, and characteristics associated with minimalism include repetition of rhythm patterns on a small and large scale, frequent use of an unchanging pulse, use of tonality and tonal centres in the harmonies he chooses, and clear structures. For Hindson these, perhaps, are from the integration of aspects of popular music into his compositions, specifically techno and death metal (Hindson, questionnaire). While acknowledging the influence of the music of American minimalist composers to an extent, he says it is not a deliberate or conscious influence, with no particular work making an impact. Rather, it is the minimalist characteristics in the music of composers outside the USA who have been more influential.
AK-47 for solo piano (with optional electronic bass drum), was written and premiered in 1994. The AK-47 is a Soviet assault rifle much favoured by insurgents and guerillas due its reliability, availability and general effectiveness, and in the piece, Hindson employs a loud, heavy, dissonant repetition which â€˜machine-gunsâ€™ its way through a recognisably tonal chord progression. For Linda Kouvaras, Hindson “illustrates musically all that is annhiliatory in this weapon. Yet the work operates in true postmodern complicity critique fashion: although Hindsonâ€™s illustration is total and contains more than a hint of the murky thrill associated with war and destruction, the piece is not a romanticised celebration of the weapon. The listener cannot help but enter into the general assult, though the immersion is tempered by a middle section which is reminiscent of a 70â€™s disco tune. This bizarre juxtaposition of music affords the potential for reflection, the ambiguity of which can leave the listener in an uncomfortable position” (Kouvaras 1995a). The repetition in the piece, and its title, remind one of Marcuseâ€™s views of repetition and a utopian world, a world that results in a one-dimensional society. For Jean-Luc Napoleon III, “from the outset, there is no doubt as to the â€¦ intention [of AK-47]â€¦and hence it continues, encapsulating everything from the intensely vicious and overbearing to what could only be the psychotic pinings of a Bosnian Serb mercenary, one day too long in the fieldâ€¦the warped canons and postures of those who find this exalted invention a most suitable device with which to implement their dreams and fantasies” (Napoleon III 1994:256-257 in ISCM World Music Days Festival Composer Brochure). For the composer, the work also reflects his belief “that there is more to music than ‘listening’ soporifically to various sounds that do nothing to excite or engage anyone except for the ego of the composer who wrote themâ€¦” (Hindson interview 3.99).
Speed (Minimum Dose), recently renamed LiteSPEED, written in 1997 for orchestra, blends a tonal, often triadic harmonic idiom, with fast repetitive rhythmic writing producing “the energy peculiar to more â€˜hard-coreâ€™ forms of techno” (Kouvaras, 1995b) to quote Linda Kouvaras in the note at the front of the score. The fast pulse and repetitive patterns of techno are produced easily by technology such as sequencers. Hindson introduces a MIDI rather than acoustic drum kit into the orchestra to drive the tempo and â€˜feelâ€™, and to balance with the acoustic orchestral instruments. But in a way, this also strengthens the link between techno and Hindsonâ€™s orchestral piece because techno uses synthetic drums. The title and tempo play with an association with drugs such as speed/ecstasy, substances which are often present within the world of techno music at rave and underground dance parties â€” associations such as “invincibility/ indestructibility, ecstasy, hyperactivity, paranoia, and â€¦stamina” to quote Kouvaras (Kouvaras 1995b). One is reminded again of the club performance venues of American minimalism in the late 1960s and why minimal music is also called â€˜trance musicâ€™. Riley recalls his performance of Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band (1967) and A Rainbow in Curved Air (1968) in 1969 at The Electric Circus, a psychedelic rock club in the East Village, New York â€” “The Beatlesâ€™ Sgt. Pepperâ€™s was still hot, because I remember that â€˜Lucy in the Sky with Diamondsâ€™ was playing the night of my concert. Inside they were using strobe lights and mylar and projections to create light-illusions. There was this psychedelic sixtiesâ€™ crowd, a mixture of young people, dope-blowing hippies, and academic types who came to check out new music” (Riley in Schwartz 1996:48). Thornton writing in 1996 of club cultures, talks of this same complete sensory environment. She quotes David Swindellsâ€™ 1988 â€˜blurbâ€™ about the club Shoom as “â€¦providing the appropriate aural (not to say, astral) atmosphere for the euphoric and whooping crowd to take the idea of dancing to its outer limits, way beyond the confines of the dancefloor and the two step shuffle” (Thornton 1996:145-146).
In Speed, Hindson completes a circle for minimalism, almost achieved through technoâ€™s use of multi-repetition, small pitch sets, little change, and fast tempo, by returning the â€˜tranceâ€™ aspect of early American minimalism to the concert hall. This for me, creates a balance, for minimalism has always crossed cultural boundaries, being performed in â€˜popularâ€™ and â€˜artâ€™ music venues, drawing on music of non-Western cultures, technology, and popular musics, and in turn being very influential on popular music.
In conclusion, Australian composers using characteristics associated with minimal music, have transplanted or borrowed these from a number of sources. The sound of the American minimalists has been one of these, but the musics of Indonesia, Africa and India have been, and still are influences shared by composers in both America and Australia. For many composers the multi-repetition of minimalism induces a feeling of trance, whether the trance of spiritualism heard in many musics of non-Western cultures, or trance induced by drugs, or a combination of the two. The repetition of minimal music is around us in our mechanised society and is inherent in the capabilities of music technology, and the â€˜new simplicityâ€™ of some minimal music is deliberately sought by some composers. The music of the American minimalists has been influential on many Australian composers, but also an affirmation and confirmation of ideas already being explored and incorporated into compositions. For many of the musical characteristics associated with minimalism – multi-repetition, unchanging pulse, small pitch sets â€” we can see that in the 1960s and 1970s, their time had come.
AZ Music (undated – early 1970s) Programme of two concerts on July 3rd, and July 5th of music of Cage, Ashley, Riley, and Young given in Sydney.
Britton, Stephanie (1987) The Ecstatic moments of Robert Lloyd. Artlink Special Issue Art and Technology, Vol, 7, Nos. 2 & 3, p.109.
Broinowski, Alison (1992) The yellow lady â€” Australian impressions of Asia. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Covell, Roger (1967) Australiaâ€™s Music â€” Themes of a New Society. Melbourne: Sun Books
Gerster, Robert and Jan Bassett (1991) Seizures of Youth. Melbourne: Hyland House Publishing.
Hannan, Michael (1982) Peter Sculthorpe. His Music and Ideas, 1929-1979 St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press
Horne, Donald (1964 reprinted 1984, Epilogue 1971) The Lucky Country Victoria: Penguin Books Australia Ltd.
International Society of Contemporary Music (undated) Composer Brochure
Johnson, T. (1994) Minimalism: aesthetic, style, or technique? The Musical Quarterly pp.742-773.
Kouvaras, Linda (1995b) Programme notes for Speed (Minimum Dose). (Composerâ€™s score available at the Australian Music Centre).
Kouvaras, Linda (1999) Laquiem, music: Andree Greenwell, text: Katherine Mary Fallon. Review of the CD The Journal of the Australian Music Centre No. 54, p.37.
Lloyd, Robert (1992) The Zen of theatre composition (an interview). The Drum Media 16 June, p.51.
Mellers, Wilfrid (1991) New worlds, old wildernesses. The Atlantic, Volume 268, No.2, August, pp.94 â€” 97.
Mertens, Wim. Translator J.Hautekiet (1983) American Minimal Music. London: Kahn & Averill
Musifilm (1972) Programme of four nights of avant-garde music and dance seen through experimental film â€” AZ Music presented at the Waratah Spring Festival, October 2,4,6,8 1972 in St. James Playhouse, Phillip St., Sydney.
Peart, Donald (1966) Asian music in an Australian university. Hemisphere March 10, pp13-17.
Polin, C. (1989) Why minimalism now? In Music and the politics of culture. ed. Christopher Norris. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Potts, John (1995) Beneath the melody. RealTime 7, June-July, p.32.
Schwartz, K.Robert (1996) Minimalists London: Phaidon Press Limited
Small, C. (1980) Music, society, education. London: John Calder.
Strickland, E. (1993) Minimalism: Origins. Bloomington: Indiana University Press
The Drum Media (1992) The Zen of theatre composition p.51.
Thornton, Sarah (1996) Club cultures â€” music, media and subcultural capital. Hanover, NH, US: Wesleyan University Press â€” University Press of New England.
Covell, Roger. Introduction to record cover notes (undated) for Peter Sculthorpeâ€™s Tabuh Tabuhan â€” The New Sydney Woodwind Quintet. Philips 6508001.
Glass, Philip (1979) Einstein on the Beach CBS
Greenwell, Andree. Undated, anonymous cover note for Greenwellâ€™s Passion. New 1044.2.
Kouvaras, Linda (1995a). CD cover notes for Matthew Hindsonâ€™s AK-47 on â€˜Greenbaum, Hindson, Petersonâ€™ â€” private release.
Lloyd, Robert (1995) Nullabor. Move Records:MD3171.
Riley, Terry (1968) In C
Riley, Terry (1969) A Rainbow in Curved Air; Poppy Nogood
**Interviews and Questionnaires**
Bandt, Ros, written questions answered in 1995.
Boyd, Anne, interview by author, Sydney, 10th September, 1997.
Burt, Warren, written questions answered in 1997.
Chesworth, David, written questions answered in 1995.
Edwards, Ross, interview by author, Sydney 16th August, 1994.
Greenwell, Andree, written questions answered in 1998.
Hannan, Michael, written questions answered in 1995.
Hindson, Matthew, written questions answered, 1996.
Hindson, Matthew, email to the author, 1999.
Kotlowy, David, written questions answered, 1995.
Lloyd, Robert, interview by phone with the author, Sydney, 25th March, 1994.
Sculthorpe, Peter, interview by author, tape recording, Woollahra, Sydney, 21 November, 1994
Smetanin, Michael, written questions answered in 1995.
Â© Diana Blom â€” 1999
Diana Blom is a lecturer in performance studies in the music department of the University of Western Sydney. She has made a study of minimalism over several years, and is one of Australia’s foremost experts in this area of music.