S/coring time

A musical score provides a record of the temporal order of events in a piece of music. In the Western European Tradition (‘Classical’ and Popular) these temporal sequences of sound events frequently include repetition which stimulates cognitive processes of retention and ‘sweet anticipation’ (Huron, 2008). In the 1960s the indeterminate experiments of John Cage, Earle Brown, Karlheinz Stockhausen and others questioned the supremacy of the score as the regulator of sequential order. Indeterminate scores encourage the performer to freely choose (or make limited choices as to) which section succeeds which. So the fragments have their own integrity (like the core sample discs) but also relate to each other as a whole. At another level, indeterminacy may be applied to meso-forms such as musical ‘phrases’ or ‘paragraphs’ or micro-forms such as melodic intervals or rhythmic patterns. S/core plays with indeterminate sequences at all three levels and the looping provided by the live electronics distorts the unilinearity of past-present-future further, providing ‘cyclical’ effects.

If we are to take S/core on a stage, I would like to try a ‘bottom-up’ approach to enrich the content. Perhaps some sort of sampling would be productive?

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This entry was posted in Blyth Gallery by Helen C Thomas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Helen C Thomas

Helen has a Ph.D. in music from Lancaster University where she completed a thesis on 'Disturbing Times: Metaphors of Temporality in Avant-Garde Music of the 1960s. She is a Senior Teaching Associate at Lancaster University and an active oboist and cor anglais player. Helen has written for Music Analysis, Twentieth Century Music, Tempo, and Metaphor and the Social World.

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