Introduction to Issue #5
When Cornelius Cardew wrote in 1963 ‘Notation is a way of making people move’ (Cardew, Treatise Handbook Edition Peters, 1971), he intimated that notation has a function which is distinct from carrier of musical meaning, but is an active element toward the production of movement and thus potentially toward sound.
Performers move. Some performers move in response to the sounds they are at that moment creating, or to the imagined sounds they hope to be projecting. These might be considered as responsive, or ‘re-active’, movements. But the ways in which a performer moves are also the result of a variety of factors which contribute to the qualities of the sounds produced. These are ‘active’ movements. Examples might include the ways in which the body and instrument (including voice) collide, how notational peculiarities stimulate the performer to move in particular ways, the internalisation of pulse and the projection of sounds in response to that pulse, or responses to other performers’ movements.
This selection of articles and films is a reflection upon some of the multiple ways in which performers move in response to stimuli and how the music created is thus inextricably tied to those movements, is formed by them. All the performers who have been invited to contribute are active within new music, variously working with highly detailed notation to indeterminate notations and improvisation. Since Cardew’s statement, the ways in which performers have engaged with movement as a topic, with technology, with notation and with their instruments have proliferated. It’s my hope that as performers talk about the subject of movement in relation to their work the ways in which we understand this essential component of sound production might be enriched, and lead to fresh collaboration and dialogue in the creation of new work.
- Philip Thomas