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Notation for Electroacoustic and Digital Media

Visual representation, communication and transmission

The brain carapace of the Karmetik Notomotion percussion-playing machine. [Click image to enlarge]

Any discussion of notation for electroacoustic and digital media necessarily addresses several related and equally important issues. An understanding of the nature, needs and intentions of visual representation help ensure the effective, appropriate communication and transmission of the notated work or performance practice.

About This Issue



Visual Representation


The Visualization and Representation of Electroacoustic Music

Human imagination thrives on the use of symbols, codes and formalized structures for representation and comprehension. These and other tools help enable conceptualization and cognition, and therefore greater understanding of compositional practices in the electroacoustic domain.


Observing in Real Time the Making of a New System of Musical Notation

By positioning research in the symbolic notation of electroacoustic music within the general history of the emergence of writing, and not only in musical notation, recurring steps will be recognized at the onset of each new technological breakthrough.


From UPIC to IanniX: Development of a three-dimensional graphic, open source environment for music, sound and beyond

Named after composer and architect Iannis Xenakis, who conceived the UPIC, a compositional tool for producing electronic sounds from drawings, IanniX is an open source, multimedia platform created by Thierry Coduys, Adrien Levèfre and Gérard Pape that fosters immediate relationships between graphic sign and sonic event.


What You See Is What You Hear: Using visual communication processes to categorize various manifestations of music notation

Despite the numerous engaging writings about modern notation practices since the 1960s, the visual communication process has only rarely been examined. Christian Fischer proposes a 3D, communication-oriented typology that allows for a differentiated classification of alternative approaches to music notation.

Communication and Transmission


Typology and Problematics of Fixed Notation for the Representation of Electroacoustic and Digital Media: Preamble; Part I. Waveform display notation

In the first of a series of texts dealing with the topic of notation of electroacoustic and digital media, the suitability of waveform display images for the representation of various aspects of complex sound is examined in use.


Doodling in the Posthuman Corpus: Wherefore scoring in the minds of machines?

Poetic notation practices such as the working sketches of composers and the idiosyncratic scoring dialects of small communities create more resilient artistic corpuses that, if eventually mapped by artificial intelligences, can help yield smarter, subtler machines.


New Behaviours and Strategies for the Performance Practice of Real-Time Notation

An exploration of performance practice issues encountered when the notation of a work is no longer bound to the world of the fixed and knowable, but is rather used in the service of exploring the realms of chance, spontaneity and interactivity.


Looking Back, Looking Forward: Reflecting on the past for a notation of the future

Parallels can be drawn between issues surrounding the notation of electronic music today and of music during the Medieval Period. In addition to providing a means for representation and analysis, it should equally be capable of transmitting compositional intent.



Monday Nights at The Kitchen Were Dark. Until…: Interview with American composer Rhys Chatham

Although well-known for his punk rock-influenced work in the late 1970s, Rhys Chatham’s earlier career was impacted by Downtown New York musicians Marianne Amacher, Charlemagne Palestine and Serge Tcherepnin, who came together at the electronic music studio of Morton Subotnick.


A Mess of Equipment and NYU’s Electronic Music Studio: Interview with American composer Brian Fennelly

Brian Fennelly (1937–2015), known as a composer of instrumental music, briefly joined the vibrant cohort of musicians creating electronic works at Morton Subotnick’s studio in New York City during the late 1960s, opening Fennelly’s lengthy tenure as a professor at New York University.


Acoustic Composers Also Need to Know About Electronic Music: Interview with Brazilian composer Marlos Nobre

A protégé of alcides lanza, Marlos Nobre was one of a dozen Latin American composers working at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (CPEMC) during the 1960–70s. Nobre’s hands-on experience with electroacoustics exemplifies its influence on composers working predominantly with acoustic instruments.

Other Items


An Artist’s Reading of the New Funding Model Implemented by the Canada Council for the Arts in 2017

The Canada Council for the Arts’ New Funding Model (2017) is a bold — and positive! — initiative offering a more flexible and inclusive structure for arts funding. An exploration of the individual artist’s perspective in navigating the new programmes and components provides insight into the changes and offerings.

Works by some authors and / or artists in this issue can be heard in, the CEC’s online electroacoustic jukebox:

Fondation SOCAN Foundation

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