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Class Notes 3/23

Marina's picture

Guest Speaker: Tian Hui Ng, Haverford College's choral director in transition from Yale.

Liz: Looking at how music and various expressions and forms relate to the course.

Tian: Music was around before language, try to find window to language through music. Revisiting idea of coding/decoding.

- Performance of 4'33" and what we heard: cars, notebooks, projector, shuffling papers. 4'33" marked beginning of noise music.

- First performed in 1950s by David Tuder. Tuder sat in front of piano and did not play.

- John Cage- Possibly influenced by Zen Buddhism. "They missed the point. There is no such thing as silence. What they thought was silence, because they didn't know how to listen, was full of accidental sounds" 


-Before language, use of sound and sounds objects to be appreciated often used pitch.

-Different gaps may exist between pitches but we can still recognize them.

-Only way to share is to write down.


"If the sounds are not retained in memory of man they disappear because one is not able to write them"


-End of 5th cent AD, oral tradition

-First manuscript collections, scribe text of chants

-Very specific audience reading these, most likely clergy.


-Paleo Frankish (first generation scripts) squiggle and dots came from scribes similar to diacretic marks, just decorated.

-2nd half of 9th century neums much more developed and no longer random decorative marks.

-quite sophisticated but no idea how quick, what note to start with, regular or irregular

-mid century neums became bigger than text with spaces.


-10th century surpassing prior technology that could only capture tiny agogic info and Guido Arrezzo invents musical staff.

-End of 10th cent. lines begin to appear in musical compositions. further developments: measured bars, clefs.

-Neums- a representation of the sensation and musical imagination.

-Notation of lines- a representation of theoretical relationships between pitches.

Moments of Water: Done by visual artist, goes from left to right. Chosen not to do initial drops, relatively sparse. Interpretation of storm sounds getting louder, every person creates new unique sound. Every performance is different.


-Most of the music we consume is present day music.

-Before age of recording/notation what did music sound like?

-What was it trying to capture?


-No printers, copiers, computers

-Handwritten, accuracy became an issue, sometimes written in shorthand, difficult to tell what was a mistake

-tempo, regular time

-standardization of notes (A=440 hz)


Mimesis in music w/o text

-what is effective declamation of music that brings you closer to audience

limitation of speech.

Text painting- when music attempts to depict something visually

Mimesis w/ music and w/o text: program music, ambient music

-Notation has nothing to do with music yet we have spent so much time perfecting it.




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