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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Lamont School of Music, Musicology and Ethnomusicology


In the realm of music theory, many terms are used to simplify characteristics of musical compositions. Many of these terms become “ism’s” as a way to easily group many characteristics or techniques that composers implement. A well known ‘ism’ that is taught often in American music theory/history courses is minimalism, where composers made music with techniques like repetition, simplification, etc. This paper seeks to define another emerging ‘ism’ in music theory, Maximalism. This term broadly refers to the over exaggeration of compositional techniques in music, and their effects. I propose that in many ways the composers Richard Strauss and Kanye West both exhibit traits of maximalism in their selected works, even though their respective techniques vary greatly. Discussing these composers and their work will further the topic of maximalism, while using two popular, yet distinct composers.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.