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The minimal kaleidoscope: exploring minimal music through the lens of postmodernity

Paterson, Alexis 2010. The minimal kaleidoscope: exploring minimal music through the lens of postmodernity. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

Both minimal(ism) and postmodern(ism/ity) are terms that occupy a peculiar space in contemporary discourse: in academic circles their characterisation is contested and debated in everyday life they have become so ubiquitous that everyone associates them with something, but not necessarily with any degree of consensus. Both become widely recognised terms during the latter half of the twentieth century: decades characterised by unprecedented globalisation of culture and communication. This thesis seeks to explore the emergence of these terms, and the events they sought to describe, but it does not attempt to impose a 'correct' definition on either term. Instead, the thesis investigates the discourse that surrounds each concept, assembling a network of ideas that characterise those terms. I will demonstrate that each label acts as a signpost to a flexible collection of theories and characteristics, and argue that minimalism can be seen as a significant cultural response to an emerging postmodernity. The structure of this thesis has been informed by the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, particularly their writings on rhizomatic thought. Their thinking is not the subject of this research, but is the inspiration for a particular attitude to ideas that has been used as a structuring device for the text: that is, a structure that hopes to demonstrate the interconnectedness of contemporary experience. The image of the kaleidoscope is used as a metaphor for this rhizomatic approach. While the physical object represents the 'totality that many regard postmodernity to be, the experience of viewing a kaleidoscope the constantly shifting parts and the resultant patterns that we recognise is imagined as an illustration of the way that postmodernity and minimalism can be understood. Three parts magnify these terms in increasing detail. The first explores postmodern discourse and its relationship to culture. The second examines the development of, and critical response to, minimalism. The third takes a single composer, Louis Andriessen, and attempts to show how the postmodern condition frames his creativity, and his particular response to minimalism. All of these parts contain connections within and between, each part. While these connections will often be alluded to, I have tried to avoid solidifying these relationships in a way that might appear too 'linear' so as to invite the reader to participate in the interpretive process, and to retain the openness so characteristic of Deleuzian thought.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Music
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
ISBN: 9781303196164
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:30
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54427

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