Michael Nyman's Bricolage: A Unique Approach to Composition in the 20th Century

Stacy Jarvis

Affiliation: The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Keywords: Analysis, Bricolage, Minimalism, Nyman, 20th Century Music

Categories: Performing Arts, Music, News and Views

DOI: 10.17160/josha.10.6.925

Languages: English

The article presents Michael Nyman's work which has been identified as close to bricolage. He is a famous composer, and his compositions are widely performed, earning his work to be compared to that of Philip Glass, an American composer. Nyman ensured that his work was original and unique from the contemporary composers. His work looks original compared to the works of British composers of the second half of the 20th century. Nyman's bricolage is characterised by a unique composition strategy, including the analysis of the original source, the selection of material, and its recombination based on a new compositional logic. His style is based on processing someone's materials through disassembly and reassembly, which is vital for the production process. For instance, the transformation of 'I'm not angry' is different, and the composer heavily relied on the original source's potential. Nyman is not afraid to integrate art from different periods, as demonstrated by his decision to settle the folk melodies in 18th-century Venice. The process of creating analysed opuses is consistent with the laws of bricolage. When creating bricolage works, Nyman turns to combinatorics, minimalist techniques, and elements of ground form. Nyman's reliance on the bricolage technology makes the principles of combination significant as the techniques borrowed from minimalism. His composition type makes it easily understood as the choice of the original source and the combination of its elements in a new work. An analysis of Nyman's work highlights that his technique arises from the artistic practice of the 20th century.

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