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August 21, 2004

Presentation on Sep. 14 (2)

Continuation from August 19.

George Lewis [Lewis, 1996] will argue that it is typical of Eurological thinking to define the score as the object. He defines two opposing methods for understanding musical expression as Eurological and Afrological where afrological thinking includes the kind of sensibility that is found in African and African-American art. He explains that

“These terms refer metaphorically to musical belief systems and behaviour which, in my view, exemplify particular kinds of musical ‘logic’.”
And further that
“at the same time, these terms are intended to historicize the particularity of perspective characteristic of two systems that have evolved in such divergent cultural environment.” [Lewis p. 93].

The score, being a digital, discrete representation of a analog, continuous expression as music is, lends itself much better to rational (eurological) musical analysis than do the sonification of that same score. This also reinforces the “denial of the impact of African-Americans forms on the real-time work of European and Euro-American composers” [Lewis p. 92].

But, even if accepting the argument that the score is, and must be, the main resource for musical analysis, the sound can still be the object when composing, and it has to be when improvising. In other words, it is not necessarily so that music composed with the sound being the object cannot withstand critical anlysis of the score. The score simply belongs to another class than does the sound.

Posted by henrikfr at August 21, 2004 02:18 PM


Further comment

In fact there is more to this, is it possible to conceive of music works for performance that have no or very limited notation but a clearly fixed electro acoustic framework and still speak of interpretation? This would be an interesting case study as one normally regards interpretation as the assigning of meaning to texts, but apparently there is an important part of musical interpretation that is related to the tactility and physical properties of playing as well as to the sounding result in itself...
Stefan Östersjö 12 september 2004

Posted by: stefan_ostersjo [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 12, 2004 11:07 PM

This is something that strikes an interesting note to me. While considering the specific nature of mixed works it might be fruitful to consider the similarities and dissimilarities between the technology of notation and the technology of digital or analogue electro acoustic techniques. There is a striking parallel in the fixity of a musical work resulting from notation and that derived from pre-prepared electronic real time processing. Does this make improvisation on pre-prepared materials more like the performance of notated works in general? I believe this is often the case. Of course there is a different situation when there is a computer part, which generates a radically different sounding result to what is being produced by the performer. But generally the similarity should be noted, improvisation with a fixed sequence of timbral treatments on an improvisation can be very similar indeed to performative interpretation of allographic works.  Does this mean that the computer files should be regarded as an allographic work?

Posted by: stefan_ostersjo [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 12, 2004 11:47 PM

Again, as I pointed out in my comment to the previous post, I think the issue of time is the key. And I think another key issue is what kind of improvisation that is at work. A definition of improvisation aproaches would be relevant at this point. For now, I will leave that to a future post. When I use the word improvisation I refer to the kind of work I do myself. My background being jazz improvisation, I still use the metaphor of "playing a tune". However, the "tune" can be as abstract as an idea or as concrete as a computer program. The point is, I do not regard what I do as indeterminant or "free" but rather as a non-fixed interpretation of whatever the "tune" is.

Posted by: henrikfr [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 13, 2004 12:02 AM

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