Kids Commute - Minimalism Week! Tuesday

Oct 23, 2018

KC 235: Today's composer, Meredith Monk. This picture is from "On Behalf of Nature" performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014.
Credit Steven Pisano, 2014

Happy Tuesday, Kids Commuters! This week we're learning about a type of music called "minimalism."

Minimalism is a musical movement in which little things mean a lot. The music uses simple tunes, harmonies and rhythms to create a complex sound. Some minimalist music isn't intended to be heard as a tune you hum along to - the composer just wants you to be present with interesting sounds for a while.

Today's piece is"Walking Song." It uses simple sounds stacked on top of each other to create a bigger sound. The sounds come from composer and performance artist Meredith Monk. Using only her voice, she created a very simple set of nonsense sounds, simple notes, and breathing to create today's piece, and then layered her voice on top of itself to create a complex sound.

It's deliberately mysterious - does it sound like she's making it up as she goes, like you might on your own walk? Or does it sound like a very old song she's trying to remember? The neat thing about this is that it's entirely up to you!

KC 236
"Walking Song"
Meredith Monk (performer/composer)

Here's today's Kids Commute:


Here's a video of one of Meredith Monk's cool compositions - "Songs of Ascenscion." It's an art installation, so the shape and echo in the tower, as well as the creative movement, are part of the song itself.

Here's short film about Meredith Monk from the Tate Museum that shows more about her and some of her other work. She's a fascinating artist!