While composing Music for Flesh II, the new piece for the Xth Sense, I found difficult to draw the structure of the performance as the overall live act is mostly an improvisation based on a given set of sound-gestures and a fixed timeline. I define as a sound-gesture a given movement of the performer which can produce one and only sound form; this paradigm implies that the reactive computing system interprets each effective gesture according to a given, but still variable, array of sound behaviours, or sound scenes. The several sound-gestures which compose the piece are still experimental and most of them still have to be defined more precisely.
Being that the design of the performance is only based on this idea of sound-gesture, the use of a graphical score seemed to me the best way to go.
Graphical notation is fairly widespread today; since its first appearance in the 1950’s several experimental and avant-garde composers deployed graphical scores to better understand and describe a sound form, among them John Cage, Christian Wolff, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis and Anthony Braxton.
I’ve been reviewing different approaches to graphical scores, and although there exist digital systems which enable a composer to virtually draw experimental scores, I was still too fascinated by the act of drawing with a pencil on a piece of paper.
Thus, I started with simple exercises, such as drawing a graphical notation of few pieces which had inspired my composition. After some interesting results with Wind Chimes by Denis Smalley, I could draw a first draft of my own piece.
The symbols can be interpreted as an idiosyncratic representation of both the sounds and the kinetic movements to be executed by the performer.
This was my first attempt to draw a graphical score for a piece based on the Xth Sense; I will keep experimenting with this aspect of composition as the paradigm represented by the “sound-gesture”, which is integral to the Xth Sense technology, offers interesting prospects for experimental notation.