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Minimal Uke

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Anyone else love minimalism? Anyone?

I’m specifically referring to minimalism in music. I’m sure the other types are all well and good, but there is something about minimalism applied to music that amazes me. It can have a way of slowly and intentionally drawing out hidden complexities in a ‘simple’ musical phrase.

I was doodling on my Uke and decided to start recording. What came out reminded me of some of the Steve Reich pieces I love. As I listened to what I had just recorded, I felt the same sense of fascination that I do when I listen closely to Reich. I also remembered all of the times when I’ve played minimalist pieces out loud only to have people the people around me say “Uh, can we listen to something else? This is really repetitive.”. Yes! Exactly! Repetition is educational and meditative and focusing and helps bring out meaning and awareness where none was before.

Be warned, it is long and repetitive. If you have the time, listen to it closely and try to be aware of what is happening each time something changes. I’m trying to highlight how one chord and strumming pattern is composed of a multitude of different little bits. By muting or emphasizing different strings, what your mind hears as the melody can change.

While I was listening, that image of a 3-dimensional sphere passing through a 2-dimensional world popped into my head. Lemme see if I can find it…ah ja, there it is. The flat-landers can only see an expanding and then shrinking circle as the sphere passes through their plane. Likewise, when listening, my mind can only perceive one piece of the musical structure at once.

If you like it, then go listen to some Steve Reich!