From lace pattern to notation and back again: integrating visual arts approaches in notation for guided improvisation

Scheuregger, Martin (2019) From lace pattern to notation and back again: integrating visual arts approaches in notation for guided improvisation. In: Notation for Improvisors Conference, 9 February 2019, Institute for Musical Research, Senate House, London.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Visual artist Danica Maier and composer Martin Scheuregger have been collaborating on an ACE-funded project which takes lace patterns from the Nottingham Lace Archive as the starting point for new live and installation-based visual-musical works. This paper explores the notational strategies used in some of the work created aspart of the project.

Ideas of transcribing, encoding and re-encoding are explored through work which has seen the original ‘data’ of the lace patterns first transcribed ‘naively’ into lines, then inscribed as punch-cards to be used with programmable music boxes; the musical results have furthermore been transcribed into traditional notation before further graphic renditions are created. This iterative, re-encoding process has resulted in a variety of pieces, each with differing levels of improvisation yet all stemming from the same source. For these, notational and graphic elements have been used to generate notation which guides the players towards a range of potential musical ‘solutions’ that strive – in a variety of ways – to imitate the original source(s).

This paper illustrates the variety of approaches taken, focussing on issues of transcription, accuracy and intention. Furthermore, the particular role of the physical score as ‘text’ will be explored, as will issues relating to the collaborative process and the intersection of fine art and musical disciplinary norms. Context is given through reference to musical composition where the relationship between processes of notation and the act of composition are complex, in particular in the of composition/inscription process used in the composition of player piano works by Conlon Nancarrow. The resulting picture is one of a dialogue between art forms (visual arts and composition), and between composition, notation-driven performance and improvisation.

Keywords:Music, Collaboration, Composition, Improvisation
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:35173
Deposited On:04 Mar 2019 07:34

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