The starting point of Minimal Art and Minimal Music is reduction which forms the basis of the techniques and aspects that will be presented in the following chapters and makes the different variations of both Minimalist movements possible. First of all, a short overview of the main principles and the most famous representatives of Object Art and Minimal Music will be provided, followed by a historical outline. After that, the different positions of various artists will be examined and compared with each other.

Definition of Minimal Art
The majority of Minimalist artists work with simple geometric figures. Squares or cubes are often used as they are considered ideal because of their identical side lengths. The objects are related to the room in a natural way, situated parallel to the walls and the grain. The material itself is hardly processed by the artist as it is mostly automatically prefabricated and standardised.
So it already meets the minimum requirements for a sculpture, namely spatiality, mass and material[1], and only in a few cases the artist exceeds this minimum. Another essential aspect is the critical stance of Minimalists towards art in general and towards traditional galleries in particular, which becomes visible for instance by the unwieldy objects that seem totally oversized for small exhibition rooms.

Definition of Minimal Music
Similar to Minimal Art, reduction in music with Minimalist tendencies refers to the material as well as to the structure of the composition. While in Minimal Art the material is limited to geometric forms, in Minimal Music the number of tones and intervals and the dynamics are reduced. Furthermore, artists avoid all forms of complexity as far as rhythm, articulation and sound spectrum are concerned.
In the next scheme larger units are formed out of single parameters. For example, a Minimalist composition may consist of one single tone or sound, include especially long-lasting tones or pauses or connect single tones in the form of root constellations such as broken triads, tone scales or circles.
It is the composition method that enables connecting the above mentioned elements in the context of the whole musical piece. These elements are then repeated with minimal or without modifications at all. By the same token, slight changes such as addition, subtraction or shifts can be found in previously defined sequences, without counteracting the Minimalist tendency of the composition. As for Minimal Music in music theory, the considerations of the critic and composer Reinhold Urmetzer are worth mentioning, who equals Minimal Music with those styles of music that are not bound to serial, post-serial or atonal composition methods.[2]

Protagonists of the Minimalist Movement
Minimalism is considered mainly an American phenomenon, although its historical development is not limited to the USA. However, in art and music only Americans are considered to be the most important representatives, mostly working in New York. To be more precise, in Minimal Art mainly the five artists Carl Andre (born in Massachusetts in 1935), Dan Flavin (born in Jamaica, NY, in 1933; died in Riverhead, NY, in 1996), Donald Judd (born in Missouri in 1928; died in New York in 1994), Sol LeWitt (born in Connecticut in 1928; died there in 2007) and Robert Morris (born in Kansas City in 1931) are worth mentioning. The representatives of Minimal Music are Philip Glass (born in Baltimore in 1937), Steve Reich (born in New York in 1936), Terry Riley (born in California in 1935) and La Monte Young (born in Idaho in 1935).
Nevertheless, the classification of their works was not suggested by themselves but, as is often the case, by art and music critics. The term Minimal Art appears for the first time in Richard Wollheim’s essay with this very title. As for Minimal Music, however, it is unclear whether the concept was first used to name the Minimalist movement by Michael Nyman (born in London in 1944) in 1968 or by Tom Johnson (born in Colorado in 1939) in 1792.[3]
Some artists were opposed to subsuming the different approaches under the concept of Minimalism. According to Steve Reich such a musical label does not have a positive impact on musical thinking for it mostly determines who the artist is and defines him. This is what a composer wants to avoid at all costs because he wants to become part of something unknown.[4]

History of Minimal Art
Although in 1967 such an attentive critic as Lucy Lippart helplessly explained that Minimalism was a virgin birth[5] the idea of radical reduction as the basic principle of minimal concepts did not emerge with Minimal Art but was already used by Kasimir Malevich in Suprematism around 1912. Malevich’s Black Square on White Ground (1913) exemplifies the reduction of elements to a basic quadratic form, seeming to be detached from the picture itself.
There are also concrete analogies with Russian Constructivism in the early 1920s, considering for instance Vladimir Tatlin (born in Moscow in 1885; died there in 1953) and Alexander Rodtschenko (born in St. Petersburg in 1891; died in Moscow in 1956) who wanted to integrate industrial production into an artistic environment.
Further approaches, though not so much in an aesthetic but in a more conceptual way, were taken by Marcel Duchamp (born in Blainville-Creon in 1887; died near Paris in 1968) who provoked a far-reaching scandal in the art world with his Readymades already in 1914. In Duchamp’s view the definition of art should include the selection of materials used. Following this definition, he simply exhibits a urinal named Fountain in a museum. The reduction of his artistic work reveals clear parallels to Minimal Art and especially Duchamp’s art criticism is very closely tied to Minimalism. However, at a closer look slight differences can be found. Duchamp tries to convert the existing conventions in the art world into subjects of irony, whereas Minimal Art aims at revolutionising them.
The art historian Irving Sandler, too, describes it as an art that is exclusively created to criticise art, without any other purpose.[6] This intended possibility of Non-Art holds also true for Pop Art, emerging at the same time as Minimalist approaches to art in around 1962. Yet, only from 1965 onwards attention is drawn to Minimal Art in larger exhibitions in New York. While Pop Art elevates objects of mass culture to objects of art, this concept is totally rejected in Minimal Art.
Contrary to contemplating previous movements that had an impact on Minimal Art, it does not appear reasonable to go into detail concerning the history of Minimal Art itself at this point, as conventional art chronologies do not live up to the expectations of a differentiated discussion of this topic. In this context, the art critic Peter Schjeldahl is worth mentioning who is of the opinion that the history of Minimal Art cannot yet be written as it is still not finished.[7] This remark dating from the year 1984 is still true and confirmed by the fact that, above all, formal criteria of Minimal Art are still applied in architecture and design. By contrast, Minimal Music has had a relatively low impact on comparable movements in other fields.

History of Minimal Music
What in fine arts refers to the breaking of modern painting with its objects as well as to Duchamp’s new perception of art, refers in music to the revolutionary Twelve-Tone Theory of Arnold Schoenberg (born in Vienna in 1874; died in Los Angeles in 1951), a technique applied from 1922 onwards. According to the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno (born in Frankfurt/Main in 1903; died in Visp in Switzerland in 1969) Schoenberg’s works are in fact the first pieces in which nothing could be changed. They are both protocol and construction. Nothing is left in them of the conventions that guaranteed the liberty of the game.[8]
By expanding the sound spectrum and at the same time applying strict rules Schoenberg creates the basis for developing all forms of Minimalist music. As he includes atonal elements he adds to Minimal Music the possibility of slightly changing musical material, which is very frequently used. However, he does not create a style of music that is totally bound to atonality. Schoenberg is a critic of redundancy which can be deducted already when the hero in his drama with music Die Glückliche Hand (1913) says that everything could be done more easily.
But even before the turn of the century some individualists such as Erik Satie (born in Honfleur in 1866; died in Paris in 1925) make use of repetition as is clearly reflected in his work Vexations, which is to be repeated 840 times. Yet, this form of repetition refers rather to the composition as a whole than to the sound material. The world premiere of Satie’s work was performed in 1963 with twelve pianists, among them the Experimentalist John Cage (born in Los Angeles in 1912; died in New York in 1992), who, not only in music, had a great impact on Minimalist tendencies on a conceptual level. In his work 4' 33" (1952) which is geared at the point of absolute zero with a length of 273 seconds, he reduces the musical information to a minimum during the performance and declares the noises produced by the audience as music that cannot be previously defined.
The pioneer of authentic Minimal Music at the beginning of the 1960s is La Monte Young who meets Schoenberg during his studies and is strongly influenced by the Twelve-Tone Theory. As far as Minimalist aspects are concerned, especially Young’s detachment of musical elements from the time concept is essential. Shortly afterwards Young gets in touch with Terry Riley in Berkeley, who is concerned mainly with serial music up to that point and who composes his first Minimalist piece of music called In C in 1964. At its premiere Steve Reich is involved as well, who at that time experiments with material from speech recordings in his work called It’s gonna rain (1965) and soon afterwards gets to know Philip Glass.
After the climax of Minimal Music in the 1960s and 1970s previous radical tendencies disappear to a large extent, also because of intercultural contacts. For example, Young and Riley got intensively involved with raga music under the guidance of the North Indian musician Pandit Pran (born in India in 1918; died in Berkeley, CA, in 1996), whose influence is strongly reflected in Riley’s works Shri Camel (1976-78) and The Harp of New Albion (1984) among others.
Indian music, which is characterized by microtonal changes as well as additive rhythms, raises great interest among Minimalist composers, as testifies Glass’s connection with Ravi Shankar (born in Varansi, India, in 1920). However, Glass, as opposed to Young, is not limited to Indian influences. Later on, for example, he composes the soundtrack for the anti-globalisation film trilogy Koyaanisqatsi (1983), Powaqqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002) in cooperation with the director Godfrey Reggio.
Reich, on the other hand, becomes intensively involved with Ghanaian drum music, which is especially evidenced in his work Drumming (1971). Later he starts to study Hebrew written language and the traditions of synagogal psalms. In his theatre piece The Cave, a production with video and music effects that was developed together with his wife Beryl Korot, he contrasts Jewish and Arab views in Abraham’s times with today’s views. This reveals his interest for political and religious topics.

Reductive approaches
Reduction can refer to the concept or to the execution or even to both. Minimalist concepts such as reduction or mathematical logical methods are based on exactly defined reduction processes and can become rather complex when it comes to implementing them. If the final result of the reduction of the conceptual basis is a Minimalist one, then ‘what you see is what you see.’[9] This is how the Minimalist artist Frank Stella (born in Massachusetts in 1936) puts it in an interview with Judd and the art historian Glaser. On the other hand, a simple implementation can be based on a complex concept, still preserving its Minimalist approach.
Furthermore, there is a difference between material and structural Minimalism. While the former reduces the objects and the sound material to a minimum, the latter aims at reducing the aesthetic or musical structure. This structure is characterised by implementing particularly simple principles of composing in a consequent manner, which holds true for Minimal Art as well as for Minimal Music. Yet, only in fine arts the artist’s personality takes a back seat in the context of his or her work. This concept of repressing the artist’s personality is, however, abandoned to a large extent during the so-called second generation of artists such as Bruce Nauman (born in Indiana in 1941), Richard Serra (born in San Francisco in 1939) and Eva Hesse (born in Hamburg in 1936; died in New York in 1970).
The rudimental method of reduction refers to the use of basic forms that cannot be further simplified, where the possible minimum of forms is achieved. Therefore, in Minimal Art frequently elements with equal side lengths are used. For instance, from 1956 until his death Ad Reinhardt painted nothing but ‘Black Paintings’. From 1960 onwards he designed them in a quadratic format of 152.4x152.4 cm, each with black shadings that can hardly be differentiated from each other. He defines the format as ‘sizeless’ and describes it as being as high as a human being and as wide as the spread arms of a human being (not tall, not small, sizeless).[10]
From the beginning of the 1950s a similar style can be observed in Yves Klein’s monochromatic paintings. In order to conceal all the hints of the act of painting he applies each colour extremely evenly on the canvas (yellow, orange, red, gold, or later a self-developed ultramarine called International Klein Blue or IKB).
Klein is one of the few artists whose works are appreciated not only in Minimal Art but also in Minimal Music. He translates the radical approach of his monochromatic paintings directly into his compositions such as Symphonie Monoton – Silence (1947), consisting only of a sole, long-lasting major triad and, subsequently, silence. Abandoning the concept of time lends a strongly meditative element to his work. This element is often used in Minimal Music, especially in La Monte Young’s works, and will be described in more detail in the last chapter. Young defines this particular form of Minimalist music as something achieved by a minimum of means. Harmony, rhythm, dynamics and instrumentation stay the same or change only slightly during the whole performance. This determines the prerequisite of minimalism i.e. the reduction of material which entails certain methods such as repetition, being one of the most important ones.[11]
Applying the definition of the reduction of material to Minimal Art brings along the considerations of Richard Serra, who rose to fame by the startling directness of his iron slabs. His objects claim purity and absoluteness and by Serra’s concentration on the basic characteristics of the material used they approximate the minimum of means defined by Young. For example, in One Ton Prop (House of Cards) (1968/69) he uses only metal slabs leaning against one other, while their structure is determined only by gravitation. The aesthetic decision of absolute reduction can be noted already in Schoenberg, claiming that music should not embellish but be true. He states that art is not related to what one can do but what one must do.[12] Thereby he paves the way for the early days of Minimalism about which the art historian Irving Sandler says that there was nothing that looked uglier, less related to art or more transgressive at that time.[13]