This really made me think (from It Isn’t Minimalism at Usability Post):

Clear, clean and simple design isn’t minimalist. It’s just good, clear design.

I always look at minimalist web design roundups with great interest because they inspire me, yet for some reason I never thought about how that is in direct opposition to my general indifference toward minimalism in music. Minimalism in music is characterized by patterns that repeat, with the interest generally being in shifting rhythms and/or small changes in tonality that are more apparent because of all the repetition. Minimalism in web design (and design and architecture at large) refers more to the stripping down of a subject to its basics. I suppose you could say that minimalism in music and design represent the same aesthetic, but most minimalist music bores me to tears and I would be pretty aggravated if somebody were to approach me and say that it represents the only necessary elements of music.

I’d opine that the author of the sentence I quoted above is right in questioning whether or not minimalism is the right word, as opposed to something like simple and functional. I’d then have to argue that “good” is far too subjective and that simplicity neither represents good nor bad on its own. I also have to say that just because I’m inspired by these minimalist/clean/functional websites doesn’t mean I don’t still love things that are make huge visual impact in the opposite way (though they must still be clean and functional or I get annoyed very quickly). I wonder how long this trend will last before everything starts to look essentially the same. Sometimes decoration is necessary to give something its own individual character, much like ornamentation can tell you which Baroque composer or architect created a piece. I just hope that the simple, clean functionality espoused by these “minimalist” websites can carry over into web design at large.

Bonus: Music I love that is so not minimalism (and yes, the ending is ridiculous slash bordering on funny):

Each of the five pieces from this post in their original forms. Just in case you thought that perhaps Chopin was the Thelonious Monk of the mid-1800s. And before anybody says anything, yes, lots of instruments play Monti’s version of a Czardas and most of them with the piano, but a Czardas (Csárdás) is really a gypsy violin thing and I like it that way.

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Some of these regularly make the internet rounds and some aren’t necessarily the worst, but all are still hilarious to snooty trained musicians. From a girl playing both clarinet AND piano (admittedly not terribly, but it was creative enough to elicit a giggle) to Sarah Palin to my most favorite Chopin performance OF ALL TIME, enjoy the videos below. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to tell my own clarinet player that I don’t need him anymore. Collaborative piano includes self-collaboration, right?

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