‘Lines’ is a piece composed for solo piano, I wanted to replicate the overwhelming feeling I get when looking at a page of highly detailed standard western notation. I aimed to recreate this feeling but add an element of my own style by combining graphic notation along with the elements of western notation.
The musical material that I included in this piece is lifted from a small piano composition I had written earlier on in this academic year. I chose to write this piece originally as a small exercise to keep my creative motivation going yet did not feel like it was a complete piece the way that it was. Therefore, I decided to rework it into a new piece involving the graphic elements so that it felt more like it represented the style I want to have as a composer.
As the visual aspects of the score are important to me, I knew that I wanted it to be striking and impactful on the performer’s eye. The first decision I had to make was choosing the scale of the score I wanted to create. After creating some trial sizes, I decided that I wanted the score to be square pages rather than the traditional look of standard rectangular scores. To me this helped make the score appear further away in style from that of traditional western notated music which is one of the themes I wanted to include in this work.
I decided to keep the colour scheme of the score to a monochrome pallet as I wanted to incorporate this element of standard western notation but not in such a direct way as that of a traditional looking score. This is where the idea to use lines came from. In addition to the staves the lines, helped to create the overall finished look of the score. I lifted one of the key symbols in standard western notation, the staves, and transformed them to create the graphics for the score.
My ambition with the graphics of this score is to influence the performers decisions, whether that be through indicating the direction of play or the style of performance. There are a few elements in this piece that I selected to include in the score as a way evoking the performer to consider different elements of performance. I chose to use a variety of line weightings which I wanted the performer to present in their performance style – expressing this through dynamic ranges and articulations.
Another way that I wanted to take the notation of this piece further away from that of standard notation is to have it on three conjoining pages. This means that the graphics on each of the pages lines up with the graphics on the following page. I thought that this would aid the visual aspect of the performance as it would be more interesting in a non-conventual concert space where the audience also gets to look at the score of the piece. This is something I take into consideration with a lot of my pieces as I think it becomes a more interesting experience for the audience when they can have a more hands on, interactive, listening atmosphere.