Monday, July 03, 2006

The Visual Context of Music

"A musical notation is a language which determines what you can say;
what you want to say determines your language." [Cornelius Cardew 1961]


Cantorinus'Cantorinus ad Eorum Instructionem' Luce Antonii Junte, 1540.
*I think* that the image of the hand was meant as a mnemonic device to be used
in staggered singing of hymns so as to remember the allowed notes...or something.


Fludd music"Robert Fludd (1574-1637). Opera, [Francofurti : Goudae], Oppenhemii,
J. Th. de Bry et haeredes, C. F. et G. Fitzer, P. Pammazenius, 1617-1638."


experimental scoreGabriel Sizes
'Etude Expérimentale d’Acoustique Musicale' 1920
[me: I have no idea]


synaesthetic musical scoreRandy Raine-Reusch 'Leaves 2' 1993.
"This score can be performed aurally, visually, kinesthetically,
synesthetically, interactively, literally, symbolically, or philosophically."


visual musicToru Takemitsu 1962 'Study for Vibration' (from 'Corona for Pianists').
"The performance may start at any point of the perimeter no matter clockwise or counterclockwise." [nb. There's a chance this was mislabelled and is actually by Sylvano Bussotti]


avant garde musical scoreMurray Schäfer 1977
'Divan I Shams I Tabriz' for Orchestra, seven singers and electronic sounds.


modernist musical notation'Bird Gong Game' ~1990s Barry Guy


cardew modernism musicCornelius Cardew 'Treatise' (detail) 1967.


Crumb Makrokosmos musical scoreGeorge Crumb 'Makrokosmos II - 12. Agnus Dei [Symbol] Capricorn'. 1973.


unusual musical scoreGeorge Crumb 'Makrokosmos I - 12. Spiral Galaxy [Symbol] Aquarius'. 1973.


bookart fugue musical representation
fugue as book art'The Art of Fugue' bookart by Elizabeth Harington.

[A literary use or response to the fugue can be found in Joyce's 11th episode in Ulysses ('Sirens') in which the wording and chapter structure attempted - with some poetic license - to mimic or work within the rules of the fugue. Unsurprisingly, a quick search on 'Sirens' revealed that John Cage, a leading musical experimentalist and graphic score 'artist' names James Joyce as an influence. See: 'James Joyce and Avant Garde Music' © Scott W. Klein 2004 at the Contemporary Music Centre.]


modernism in musical notation'For Andrea section 4' Kerry John Andrews [detail]


modernist musical expressionScreen capture from See Music Project: Kircher/Monteverdi.


This post had been left on the backburner for many months. Graphical scores are a modernist trend so of course copyright and commercial interests means that there are not as many examples online as I had otherwise hoped.

Many thanks variously for known and unknown assistance to Panopticist, Waggish, Giornale Nuovo, Languagehat and Boynton.

Some of the links will play music. As always, click the above images for larger versions.

16 comments :

The Liberal Avenger said...

Beautiful post.

Marius said...

Delightful. I have blogged it here:
BibliOdyssey: More musical notation.

misteraitch said...

This is beautiful stuff, & thoughtfully put together: many thanks!

Julie Oakley said...

What a wonderful fascinating site you have here. I'm adding you to my list of links.

language said...

I knew that Barry Guy link would appeal to somebody besides me someday! Thanks for this superb post.

Lorelei said...

Absolutely gorgeous, fascinating and thank you!

Efendi said...

omg, i found this great site, i was crawling bout Codex Seraphinianus, and ended up here somewhere ^^

great site ^^

gotta bookmark this :)

nico said...

great post. I used to find the notation of John Cage fascinating.

I didn't know there was so musch more.

Sam Moore said...

What you're looking at in the first image is a Guidonian hand. This is one of the earliest info-graphics - a representation of the medieval solfege system designed to help singers remember where to put the half-tone intervals, and such like.
Attributed to Guido d'Arezzo - more info on Wikipedia.

pk said...

Thanks all.

Cheers Sam. Guidonian Hand and solfege. That is far out there beyond my mortal, non-musical understanding. I am happy to comprehend it as a mnemonic device for music ;-)

Stephen V Funk said...

What a fantastic post... I humbly link to it...

If you can find Cornelius Cardew's "Scratch Music" book, there are lots of lovely graphic/conceptual musical scores in there too...

alex said...

what a great site. Found it through "visual Music"
You might enjoy a peek at my attempt at online digital book work

http://www.futureofthebook.org/itinplace/

Vitriolix said...

great post, you might be interested in this graphical score:

http://at.or.at/hans/solitude/

f? ribeiro! said...

great post, you also may be interested in this graphical score: http://filosonia.110mb.com/TRANSTORNOPartitura.pdf

peacay said...

Wow. Thank you very much. That is fabulous. I don't quite know how to read or untangle it (them) but I very much appreciate works that travel out to the edge of their sandbox.

Obrigado por compartilhar essas peças :-)

Virginia said...

Bravo! I didn't imagine a thing like this. I didn't know could exsist another way to represent music. Thanks

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