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About notation…

by Cecilia Arditto

published in NOTATIONS 21 by Theresa Sauer

New York, 2008, Mark Batty

I like to think about music (I am talking about written music) as an object which regenerates itself every time it is evocated. Different from other arts where the physical object previously exists, in music the work of art “pops up” every single time music is performed, following the recipes of a score.

Music chooses a foreign language to express itself that is not sound waves but rather graphical signs. This synesthesia, that is when one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, prints to musical thought an ambiguous feature, ambiguity understood as fragility and strength at the same time.

We know that the history of western music was always dancing together with the history of musical notation: one generating the other in an indivisible dialectical relationship.  Musical notation is not only a tool to preserve the right sound waves in the correct order  but a way of thinking and creating  music from a different perspective, being both a registration and generation machine at the same time. Notation is in this way a kind of “arena” which allows music to be thought constantly in diverse and flexible ways, being this imperfect-perfect, defined-undefined, precise-imprecise double sided coin, the right scenario for the abstract condition of music.

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