Time and Pitch

Two thoughts or ideas came up when discussing notation in a seminar recently.

  1. When generalizing a bit, we could state that regular staff notation (especially before WWII) offered more felexibility in timing (see also this article by Daniel Leech-Wilkinson) while presenting pich accurately. On the other hand, MGN (utilizing time based media) is rather flexible in pitch while time is acurately represented.
  2. Graphic Notation in general (and MGN in specific) are useful for "abstract" and "non harmonic" music. In other words, trying to convert a piano sonata to graphic notation or composing minimal music using MGN simply does not make sense.

Soundbox - Noise

Recently I attended a "Soundbox" DIY workshop at Ptarmigan by Derek Holzer. This inspired me to plan my 2nd PhD concert. It will deal with noise in all its manifestations. In the video below you can see me testing the soundbox...

workshop impressions

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INScore is an interesting project that can be used with a lot of interfaces like PD, Max or CSound:

INScore is an environment for the design of Interactive Augmented Music Scores. An Augmented Score is a graphic space providing representation, composition and manipulation of heterogeneous music objects (music scores but also images, text, signals...), both in the graphic and time domains. For all objects of the score, it formally defines the properties required to address and to synchronize them in the graphic space, according to their temporal relationship. In addition, it supports the representation of the music performance, considered as a specific sound or gesture instance of the score. An Interactive Score is a music score that you can interact with in real-time. For example, you can design the score while you're playing the music. These two approaches of the music score contribute to dynamically relate a symbolic music object to its performance.

Mapping Again

After just using Motion Graphic Notation (lets call it MGN from now on...) in a concert, there are some things that need to be written down:

  • hands on! - graphics need to indicate the characteristics of a sound and (if possible) how it is produced or vice versa.
  • structure regarding time is inherent, due of the use of time based media.
  • reduction (of motion, virtuosity, notes ... ) is only understood as a compositional value if performed by an recognized, trusted or respected personality (check David Tudor and 4,33) . Otherwise the audience will regard reduction as a lack of skill.
  • the connection of visual guidance and audible coherence is a benifit (but not a must) to enjoy music.


Although soundpainting is not a form of notation, it is a very interesting approach, especially regarding the development of a language to communicate musical ideas. "Soundpainting is the universal multidisciplinary live composing sign language for musicians, actors, dancers, and visual Artists. Presently (2013) the language comprises more than 1200 gestures that are signed by the Soundpainter (composer) to indicate the type of material desired of the performers. The creation of the composition is realized, by the Soundpainter, through the parameters of each set of signed gestures. The Soundpainting language was created by Walter Thompson in Woodstock, New York in 1974."

Check out the videos on soundpaiting website: click here.

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