Developing a Phenomenological Approach to Music Notation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Sound art theorists Seth Kim-Cohen and Salomé Voegelin regard the fixed conceptual structures of notation either as an obstacle to pure sensorial engagement with sound (Voegelin 2010), or as the site of arrogant musical exceptionalism (Kim-Cohen 2009). While sound, whether constituted in phenomenological or idealist terms, is evolving and dynamic, notation is characterised by its ossifying imperative (Kim-Cohen 2009) (Voegelin 2010). For Voegelin, a music score is regarded as conceptual, not perceptual. It is read as text and, it seems, has no meaningful place within a phenomenological practice of sound art (Voegelin 2010). The criticism that Vogelin’s phenomenalism in particular levels at notation invites close examination of notational practice and the semiotic structures that underwrite it. In this paper, I seek to challenge the conceptual imperative of fixed notation through the presentation of a case study in the form of an original composition for string quartet and tape. Drawing on research by Rudolf Arnheim and Mark Johnson, a form of notation will be proposed that enables the score to escape singularly semiotic structures so that it may address the dynamic, phenomenological mode of experience that recent theories of sound art imply is beyond the reach of musical notation.
LanguageEnglish
Pages160-170
Number of pages11
JournalOrganised Sound
Volume20
Issue number02
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2015

Fingerprint

Music Notation
Notation
Sound Art
Sound
Tape
Exceptionalism
Idealist
Salome
Musical Notation
Music
Phenomenalism
Rudolf Arnheim
Criticism
String Quartet
Conceptual Structure
Mark Johnson
Theorists

Keywords

  • music cognition
  • notation
  • phenomenology
  • experimental music
  • score

Cite this

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title = "Developing a Phenomenological Approach to Music Notation",
abstract = "Sound art theorists Seth Kim-Cohen and Salom{\'e} Voegelin regard the fixed conceptual structures of notation either as an obstacle to pure sensorial engagement with sound (Voegelin 2010), or as the site of arrogant musical exceptionalism (Kim-Cohen 2009). While sound, whether constituted in phenomenological or idealist terms, is evolving and dynamic, notation is characterised by its ossifying imperative (Kim-Cohen 2009) (Voegelin 2010). For Voegelin, a music score is regarded as conceptual, not perceptual. It is read as text and, it seems, has no meaningful place within a phenomenological practice of sound art (Voegelin 2010). The criticism that Vogelin’s phenomenalism in particular levels at notation invites close examination of notational practice and the semiotic structures that underwrite it. In this paper, I seek to challenge the conceptual imperative of fixed notation through the presentation of a case study in the form of an original composition for string quartet and tape. Drawing on research by Rudolf Arnheim and Mark Johnson, a form of notation will be proposed that enables the score to escape singularly semiotic structures so that it may address the dynamic, phenomenological mode of experience that recent theories of sound art imply is beyond the reach of musical notation.",
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Developing a Phenomenological Approach to Music Notation. / Casey, Rob.

In: Organised Sound, Vol. 20, No. 02, 07.07.2015, p. 160-170.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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