Beyond Common Music Notation : The collections of Cage & Sauer : After Kelemen : A rapid composition, simulation and graphing continuum : Working with graphical units : Mulholland’s How to Consecrate and Imaginary Circle : The Triangle of the Art : Scripting and the ‘poietic’ thread : Fifteen Images : Mapping Yorkshire
Beyond Common Music Notation
During the 1950s, contemporary composers began to experiment more freely with alternatives to symbolic, or common music notation (CMN). We have already encountered Feldman’s ‘graph score’ notation with regard to Duos, Trios, Quartets, and in this chapter we will look at other alternative methods to scoring for live performance, and the relationship between scripting, graphic or extended scores, and the production of reference recordings to assist players in their interpretation, as well as to assist the composer in explorations of how a piece should be articulated.
The interest in developing new methods by which to express musical ideas can be related to musical concerns stemming from the need to produce effects that would be unwieldy to express in common music notation: for example, complex, pointillistic textures. The development of the graphic score also have parallels with the incorporation of improvisation or improvisatory concepts into the traditions of contemporary classical music – listen, for example, to the performance below of Feldman’s Atlantis (1959). This is one of Feldman’s ‘graph score’ pieces, composed on squared paper, in which each square indicated a fixed period of time, and the number therein tells the player how many notes to play during that time. Listen particularly the piano solo, which has an improvisatory quality stemming from the individual tastes of each player and their interpretation of the numerical material… although it is also doubtless well rehearsed.