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Monday 18th May 2020

WALT: create our own interpretation of minimal music


In our music lesson today we are looking at minimal music and the composer Steve Reich.


Steve Reich mixed together his classical training with his love of African drumming, jazz and pop music and helped to invent a whole new form of music: minimalism. He uses short motifs and repeating patterns to make his music exciting.  

Steve Reich

In the 1960s Reich experimented with sampling and looping tapes, after noticing an exciting effect when two tape recordings of the same phrase ‘It’s gonna rain’ gradually ‘phased’ in and out of sync with each other. Reich then applied ‘phasing’ to musical instruments, such as two pianos, and with clapping hands.  


Curious about many different types of music, in the 1970s Reich travelled to Seattle to study the Balinese gamelan and to Ghana, to study West African drumming – and his own piece, Drumming, was inspired by his time there.


Reich’s music has inspired people like Brian Eno and David Bowie and reflects the development of musical styles like hip hop and dance music. He has been called America’s greatest living composer.


Task: Listen to the piece of music below and hear how he uses different instruments to create layers of sound and rhythms.

Then have a go at creating your own piece of minimal music using the 2do set on PurpleMash. Experiment with layering different instruments and sounds over each other to create your own Steve Reich inspired piece! 


Steve Reich - Music for Pieces of Wood

Still image for this video