Minimalism and the guitar

Melissa Claire Branson

This dissertation aims to investigate musical minimalism and its influence on the classical guitar repertoire. Minimalism is defined through a taxonomy of minimalist techniques and the use of minimalist techniques is then traced through a preliminary survey of the guitar repertoire. While classical minimalists Steve Reich and Terry Riley have written several guitar works, the true pioneer of minimalism on the guitar is shown to be Cuban composer Leo Brouwer. Use of minimalist techniques is also particularly prevalent among Australian composers, including Nigel Westlake, Peter Sculthorpe, Robert Davidson, and Phillip Houghton. Curiously, a large number of guitar works employ minimalist techniques in evocation of landscapes. Additionally, minimalist techniques have been used extensively in the burgeoning genre of guitar ensemble, including works by Leo Brouwer, Steve Reich, David Pritchard, and Joe Duddell.

Minimalism and the guitar

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