You have composed several pieces now and it is a good time to begin thinking about representing them in the form of a score. Scores in the traditional sense are a compilation of notes on a staff that represent pitches that are to be played. The staff is equipped with icons that relay to us the time, speed, instrumentation of the piece. A formula or algorithm is you will.
Electronic music lives outside the traditional narrative of music notation, instrumentation, harmonization and scoring. When creating a score for your electronic compositions you will need to keep a few things in mind:
- How will the music be performed? Playing a recording and listening to it is much different than watching someone re-create someone’s idea and artistry by following a traditional score.
- Electronic music expands the landscape of traditional music through the incorporation of white noise, sounds from nature and our natural world, mechanical sounds, etc. This expansion of sound will put some purist in the awkward position of determining whether the expanded sound vocabulary is in fact music. The fact that we are asking others to listen to our compositions lends credibility to the idea that our compositions are in fact “music”. Adding a layer of graphic notation will further invite our audience to consider expanding their definitions of “music”.
- Understanding music that does not have a traditional score can be challenging and will need you to curate or explain what is happening and why you made the graphic choices you did. What will you use to notate a squeaking door? A sneeze? Your composition may need more than one listen for the listener to truly grasp what you are trying to convey. You and your audience look at our scores as a “close reading” of our work in which the reader or listener revisits the text many times to deepen understanding and context.
- To date, there are no standardized systems that are used to represent electronic compositions. Be creative, or boring. Your score should somehow represent your composition not just to you, but hopefully also to someone else.
In this unit will be creating graphic scores that will incorporate graphic notation. The scores you create will be just as personal as your compositions. We won’t be using notation or staves…instead we will tap into graphicacy and create works of art using shape, line, color. Your scores may even take shape in 3D or VR!