Personally, as a (computer) musician and composer, I was always eager to find alternative visual methods for communicating my musical ideas and structures to the performing musician and sometimes even the audience. Especially in electro acoustic and live electronic music, traditional forms of notation are not applicable as pre recorded natural sounds without a defined pitch, noise, sound synthesis or simply concrete and abstract sound are used.


Advantages of Motion Graphic Scores:

  1. A (motion) graphic notation bears an esthetic value in itself and can be shown to the audience during a performance. The audience can follow the score and the development of the music. Thereby the intention and musical idea or message of the composer can be supported.
  2. The proper use of any kind of system requires learning and training. The learning effort to start with a graphic notation is significantly less, compared to common notation, as the approach is rather intuitive. So it is easy to learn.
  3. This is connected to another advantage. The inherent meaning of signs and graphical elements. Imagine the visual appearance of a sawtooth wave. Like indicated in the name, it's visualization looks like the teeth of a saw. It is a sharp "up-and-down-wave ̃. If this visual element is for instance used to indicate the dynamics of a violin sound over time, we can assume that the violinist will play a kind of tremolo. These meanings derive from visual conditioning within our cultural environment (check Pavlov’s classic experiments), the direction one is reading and writing and the experiences we gathered in a visual world. As for the sawtooth example, the graphics have the inherent message that "up" means "more" while "down" means "less" sound volume.
  4. As the computer has become an everyday tool that is used all over the world, the proposed notational system can be used by anyone and anywhere, regardless of age, sex, cultural or educational background and even skill. The proposed notation system can therefore be very well used for educational purposes.
  5. The possibility of using the computer as a tool to generate, to conduct and to replay moving images and graphics and to be able to change every single parameter in the digital domain, even in real time according to the users needs.
  6. The potential to use graphic notation for live electronic music. The first electronic piece dealing with an accurate graphic notation was Stockhausen's "Studie II" from 1954[1]. However this piece consist only with single sine waves. Thinking about more sophisticated synthesized sounds, notation becomes much more difficult. In the digital domain sounds can be designed and manipulated in every detail, like discrete frequencies of a sound or single grains regarding time domain[4]. Hence, an accurate notation like for "Studie II" is not longer possible. Moving graphics however bear the possibility of indicating actions as well as sound movements and musical gestures in a more general way. Thus, parameters like the timing of actions, the relative frequency range, spatial parameters and the characteristics of sounds used in live electronic music can be notated.
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