Wednesday, 30 March 2011

New Languages

Our penultimate project for the term was titled 'New Languages'. All about taking a current process, and subverting it to create a new experimental 'practise'..
As the brief was left pretty open I was slightly perplexed by the whole idea of what the project was about, but decided to start my research by investigating processes in which I take interest. As I can play both piano and flute; I thought I could use my musical knowledge in the project, and achieve a 'New Language' by investigating the way in which music is notated, eventually creating my own way of visualising music.

I began to look in to the relationship between colour and sound, and was interested to find Newton's theory stating that the 7 colours of the spectrum can be seen to correspond with the 7 notes of the musical scale. Therefore, music could be visualised using colours to represent each note. However I gained a higher interest in the 'graphic notation' technique used by experimental musicians such as John Cage and Cornelius Cardew, where symbols as well as colour are used to create musical notation.

A page from Cornelius Cardew's 'Treatise'

I decided that I wanted to take a similar approach to this when creating my own form of musical notation. So I went about doing this by first picking a well known piece of music (Tchaikovsky's Dance of The Swans - Swan Lake) and creating my own musical score made up of shapes and colour. Here is 2 mins worth of the piece (click to enlarge):

Although it looks quite confusing first time around, I have picked every colour shape and movement for a reason. Each different colour shows each different instrument of the orchestra; I picked the specific colours by researching what colours are already associated with each instrument, and also by personal opinion of what suits. The symbols and shapes represent the kind of sounds being produced. I have produced a key to explain this below:

I found this project really interesting - but something I'd love to do is turn it all around, i.e. hear how my musical notation would be interpreted by an orchestra, with no knowledge of what it is based on. I wonder how it would sound..!

No comments:

Post a Comment