Minimalism is a type of music which is made up of limited musical material to create complex and emergent textures. Notable examples of minimalist composers include Steve Reich and John Adams. To accomplish this, minimalist composers utilise a variety of techniques:


A continuously repeating musical pattern - the building blocks of minimalist music.

Note Addition

The gradual introduction of new notes into an ostinato.

Note Subtraction

The gradual removal of existing notes into an ostinato.


The changing of alignment between two ostinatos, usually instances of the same ostinato, creating interesting resultant "interference patterns".

Resultant Melody

The melody picked out by your ear composed of notes from different ostinatos or parts. This is usually the highest pitched note in each part, however it can be manipulated using accented notes to "force" a different resultant melody.