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Minimalist Music Composition Techniques

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  • Minimalist Music Composition Techniques

    I was inspired by the following short video about composition techniques for minimalist music:



    Thanks to musicmsrevision for posting it! These are very simple, yet powerful, techniques that may be applied to ambient music production. Here is a summary of what was presented:

    1. Drone - long held note/notes
    2. Ostinato - loops/short repeated melodies
    3. Layering - adding layers of new melody evenly
    4. Augmentation - playing the melody twice as slow, then twice as slow again
    5. Diminution - playing the melody twice as fast, then twice as fast again
    6. Note subtraction - taking one note away at a time from short melody
    7. Note addition - adding one note at a time to make the short melody
    8. Metamorphosis - changing one note at a time on a repeated melody to make a new melody
    9. Static harmony - changing one chord to another gradually
    10. Phasing - having a slightly shorter/longer version of the melody and repeating it until it is in sync again
    11. Rhythmic displacement - making one note louder than the others (accented) and changing this louder note when you repeat the melody

    I'm going to start applying these techniques to my productions and see where they take me.
    http://www.soundcloud.com/johntimm

  • #2
    These are some great techniques. I will be sure to try and encorparate them into future tracks. : 3

    ... well, all of them except number one. I do enough droning already. Hah.
    www.eyeoftheta.bandcamp.com/releases

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    • #3
      Great resource, thanks for posting.

      I'm a huge fan of phasing as a compositional technique. It's what drives most of the work that I do. I think it allows you to get some of the feel of a generative type composition but with more cohesion.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JohnTimm View Post

        1. Drone - long held note/notes
        2. Ostinato - loops/short repeated melodies
        3. Layering - adding layers of new melody evenly
        4. Augmentation - playing the melody twice as slow, then twice as slow again
        5. Diminution - playing the melody twice as fast, then twice as fast again
        6. Note subtraction - taking one note away at a time from short melody
        7. Note addition - adding one note at a time to make the short melody
        8. Metamorphosis - changing one note at a time on a repeated melody to make a new melody
        9. Static harmony - changing one chord to another gradually
        10. Phasing - having a slightly shorter/longer version of the melody and repeating it until it is in sync again
        11. Rhythmic displacement - making one note louder than the others (accented) and changing this louder note when you repeat the melody
        would be interesting to programmatically apply this to random notes usind SuperCollider
        ahornberg.bandcamp.com
        soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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        • #5
          Here's a great video (and piece of music) illustrating the power of phasing:



          I used it on this track:

          https://toaster.bandcamp.com/track/until-i-am-awake

          In a most groovy fashion.

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          • #6
            Oh, and I have to put this in here. It's a fucking masterwork:

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            • #7
              ahornberg.bandcamp.com
              soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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              • #8
                These are great tips. I am really excited to see where they take me in my endeavors. Thank you so much for posting them.
                https://amphigorymusic.bandcamp.com/

                https://soundcloud.com/amphigorymusic

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                • #9
                  I didn't knew anything about this, you save my life bruh. Glad I join this forum

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                  • #10
                    I had a lot of fun with phasing a couple weeks ago after I saw this post. Thanks!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Toaster View Post
                      Oh, and I have to put this in here. It's a fucking masterwork:

                      this is great! sounds a bit like lubomyr melnyk, just slower ;) he has writings on his piano style:
                      lubomyr.com

                      I saw him a couple of weeks ago in berlin, simply amazing!


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                      • #12
                        I saw him last year at Substrata. He was a weird dude, but made some good tunes.

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                        • #13
                          this sounds awesome http://www.lubomyr.com/musik/Fountain.mp3
                          ahornberg.bandcamp.com
                          soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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                          • #14
                            2 pianos - incredible ambient ...
                            ahornberg.bandcamp.com
                            soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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                            • #15
                              Saw this posted yesterday via Synthtopia:

                              https://youtu.be/yg7kKJsFpvc

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