Re: Notation in EA - comments?

Subject: Re: Notation in EA - comments?
From: Thorin Kerr (
Date: Tue Feb 02 1999 - 17:56:19 EST

---Steven Naylor <> wrote:

> 1. For recorded works (with no live performance or composer-directed
> active projection), what functions does a 'score' actually serve for
> listener and composer?

The problem is that the term 'score' derives its meaning from
traditional notation. Traditionally one can think of a score as being
both prescriptive (like tablature) and descriptive (like a record).
Today - especially for ea music - we have vastly more efficient
methods of acheiving each of these - I'm thinking of perhaps code
(instructions to an instrument) and naturally enough a recording. A
score for "no live performance or composer-directed active
projection" is then something different. It depends upon how it is
presented of course, but I imagine for a listeners point of view most
scores act as some kind of supplement to the work as a whole. Both as
surplus and necessary addition to the overall experience. An example
was provided by somebody on the list when they said it aids the
listener to pick out things that they otherwise would not hear. A
score in this environment may do much more than that - or much less
if it still tries to fullfill a 'traditional role'.

> 2. 'Scores' may be created before- or after-the fact (or some
> combination) for works that do not include live performances. This is
> certainly related to how much the composer works through the
materials as
> opposed to working towards a solidly defined plan. What value
> are placed on the two approaches to both notating and composing?

Some of the best pieces I know have no plan at all. In some cases a
score does not necessarily define a plan or describe an event but
merely set up the conditions for an event to take place. To me this
makes the score an integral part of the work with a life of its own.
The role of the composer is secondary... as it should be.

> 3. Given that some EA composers work almost entirely in software
> environments that generate copious amounts of visual material as the
> progresses, how valid would it be to consider this material an
> fact 'score'?

One could, just as one could say the etchings on a clay pot made by a
violent earthquake in ancient Greece, are an after the fact
representation. Sure, just like the real thing. Well, you could say
that, but it wouldn't MEAN all that much now would it.

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