Music graphics

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With music graphics (also musical graphic ) a specific for the tonal realization will score referred to, wherein the information for the / performers not in the conventional notation of a character system are given, but in the form which is either functionally (i. E. In the sense of graphical notation ) Can be related to the course of the plot or designed as free graphics according to the rules of the fine arts . Ambiguities with regard to the use of the term "musical graphics" can arise if it is also used to describe pictures and collages from the field of graphics and painting, where individual musical characters or entire score excerpts are included in the overall picture like collages. It is crucial that a music graphic is intended for the performance by its author and that it should be implemented in the sound design. Music graphics are also to be distinguished from music replicas, which occasionally provide very precise image reproductions of previously heard acoustic events and which can also be carried out and documented by computers. The most famous example of this is the audio score for György Ligeti's electronic composition "Articulation" compiled by Rainer Wehinger in 1970 .

Mixed forms and transitions between the two directions are possible and make up the range of possible artistic approaches and solutions. So the characters are only more or less clearly defined, i. H. the precise notation and exactness of the characters have been given up in favor of an extended freedom of interpretation. Improvisation plays a major role here. The more arbitrary and freer the musical symbols become, the more important the associative component becomes and the greater the freedom that is given to the interpreter in realizing the graphic. The visual component can go so far that the design of the graphics and the arrangement of the signs achieve complete independence and the musical-acoustic function more or less, in extreme cases even completely, takes a back seat in favor of the visual-visual. In their musical lack of commitment, such graphics can claim the status of works of fine art, which within certain limits can be reinterpreted at will and over and over again. In the spirit of crossing borders, Dieter Schnebel developed an intermediate form in which the sheets he called " visual music " trigger acoustic associations in the viewer without actually sounding a sound. What has been recorded no longer needs to be heard, it already lives in the viewer's imagination ("audio images", "audio texts").

The duration and the instrumental composition of such graphically notated works are usually variable. It is positive to note that more and more typical character patterns are becoming normative. The dissemination of Erhard Karkoschka's lexicon "The Typeface of New Music" played a large part in this. By explaining various examples from music-graphic practice, Karkoschka created a kind of basic catalog of possible ciphers, which has meanwhile found widespread use. So (to name just a few characters) black colors consistently mean high volumes (in contrast to white); Compressions mean faster or greater impulse density, circles and points are to be implemented as punctual actions (single tones), while lines and bands are to be implemented as melodies; Rectangles define sound surfaces. The Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki was instrumental in spreading such a musical sign language, who had found an adequate form of representation for his sonorism-influenced sound concepts in such notation ciphers for scores such as " Anaklasis " and "Fluorescences" (1961/62).

Musically, the music graphics of the 1960s and 1970s was a main branch of artistic aleatoric and a counter-reaction to the serial constructivism of the 1950s. Its material structuring was primarily limited to artifacts in an emphatically mathematical-abstract way and an essential task of the listener with this type of musical design was to intellectually understand the artistry of the constructive work design in reading and listening. Often the emotional experience of experiencing the statements of a person who does not just want to deal with numbers and abstract form problems in the totality of his existence was neglected. Thanks to the improvisational elements, the interpreter's spontaneity and willingness to express again came into play with the music graphics, which - measured by traditional listening comprehension - were still abstractly and subjectively conveyed, but were nevertheless easier to understand by the audience.


New forms of notation were created before the First World War - without this being able to deal with music graphics . The color organ that Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin used in his 5th symphony "Promethée: Poème du feu" in 1911 challenged the composer to come up with suitable playing instructions. In 1916 the Italian futurist Luigi Russolo noted in "Risvelgio di una città" with the help of jagged and diagonal lines within the conventional five-line system the use of the so-called "intonarumori", a series of unusual sound generators, which he invented. New sound generators such as B. Theremin and Ondes Martenot could also not be written down using traditional notation. Other approaches for breaking the conventional spelling can be found in Marcel Duchamp , who in his "Erratum musical" from 1913, in the sense of greater indeterminacy, placed noteheads without a neck, ie without rhythmic determination, over his text and thus, to a certain extent, gate and door to creative arbitrariness has opened.

The roots of a form of notation that can be called music graphics in the narrower sense lie in New York. It was first used by the American composer Morton Feldman , whose "Projections" (1951) completely dispense with conventional notation. The course of a composition over time is defined by the spatial arrangement of boxes, with the box content merely consisting of information about the instrumentation, the register to be selected, the number and duration of sound events. The music graphics spread quickly in the artist group around John Cage , to which Earle Brown belonged in addition to Feldman . His sheets "November 1952" and "December 1952" from the folder "Folio" (1952) were long considered the earliest examples of musical graphics. No less famous for their unmistakable sign language are the sheets by John Cage, especially "Variations I" (1958), which are to be understood as a counter-position to serial music . In Europe, the Austrian Roman Haubenstock-Ramati made music graphics famous.

Historically, however, music graphics seem to have been a closed phenomenon since the late 1980s. A final stage is marked by those forms of visual music that invent music in the sense of musical concept art , which can no longer be performed in order to exclude the materialization of the idea. Musicians such as Mauricio Kagel or Sylvano Bussotti also spoke up , ironically questioning what they had achieved when they incorporated graphic or linguistic elements in a destructive way at certain points in the score.

For the liberation of the music from its constructive constraints, however, the music graphics were important and thus trend-setting in the development of music that again approaches the listener more. And not just on the listener, as has been proven by numerous exhibitions where musicians presented their works in galleries or art houses. This happened for the first time in October 1980 at the Kunsthaus Schaller in Stuttgart: Erhard Karkoschka and Reinhold Urmetzer presented works by Earle Brown, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, John Cage, Anestis Logothetis, Erhard Karkoschka and Reinhold in collaboration with the Amerika-Haus and the City of Stuttgart's Cultural Office Urmetzer, Klaus Feßmann and others, which were also translated into music in concert events. The exhibition "Musical Graphics", curated by Klaus Hinrich Stahmer, was similarly comprehensive and accompanied by concerts Schaeffer presented. Music graphics were assigned to the overall phenomenon of polyesthetic works of art in the exhibition "Vom Klang der Bilder" (From the Sound of Pictures) initiated by Karin von Maur (Stuttgart 1985), the catalog of which contains a comprehensive basic article by Peter Frank.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Published by B. Schott's Sons Mainz (ED 6378-10)
  2. Erhard Karkoschka: The typeface of new music. Moeck, Celle 1966, DNB 457137940 .
  3. ^ Paul Griffiths: Modern Music and After. Oxford University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-19-974050-X .
  4. ^ Peter Frank: Between picture and score - visual scores. In: On the sound of images. Catalog of the exhibition of the same name. Prestel, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-7913-0727-4 , p. 444 ff.