Lecture 32

Electronic music, Minimalism and Beyond


Composers must forge forms out of the many influences that play upon them             and never close their ears to any part of the world of sound.                                                          —Henry Cowell


music in the postmodern age

first, there's a short history of electronic music; then, we get to know what minimalism is all about, listening to music of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams; finally we look at 2 late modernists, who specialize in creating sound masses

Topics covered:


Phillip Glass

  • electronic music
  • minimalism
  • Steve Reich
  • Philip Glass
  • John Adams
  • Gyorgy Ligeti
  • Krysztof Penderecki


  • understand the need to simplify in the minimalist style
  • hearing the sound complexes of Ligeti and Penderecki


  • watch lecture 32 (in multiple parts for quicker download)
  • review previous chapters, as necessary
  • read textbook, Chapter 27-28
  • As you are reading your textbook, go through the Listening Exercises in textbook sequence, listening to the examples provided.
  • regarding developing listening skills: you should be in the habit of developing your listening skills early in the game - the assignments will get more complex through the semester and you may find yourself unable to keep up. As simple as these early assignments may seem to some of you, they will help to keep you on the right track, and help you develop the skills required for a greater appreciation in listening to music, including the music that you listen to for your own enjoyment. Of course, those objectives are in total sync with the success you hope to have in this class. Remember that your ability to recognize the music on your CDs will be tested and will, of course, impact your grade. 

Audio / Video lecture

  • you know the drill

Lecture 32.1

A quick and dirty history of electronic music, part 1

Lecture 32.2 
A quick and dirty history of electronic music, part 2
Lecture 32.3 
Minimalism and Beyond
Lecture 32.4 
Sound Masses - Penderecki and Ligeti

Lecture 32.5
In Conclusion
Recommended works for further and future enjoyment 
if you like (a particular work), you may like (some recommendations).
Right-click the link to download this PDF.