Part 3: Place and Landscape

"Once performed, these scores can become site-specific meditations, or give rise to fresh musical responses that encourage people to reappraise the landscape around them." #BMC50


The third article in an exhibition of contemporary approaches to graphic scores by British composers. Curated by Jacob Thompson-Bell, 2017.

The meeting of sonic and visual dimensions that graphic scores explore can create powerful geographical connections. Artists can use them to map and document the sounds of a specific location.

Once performed, these scores can become site-specific meditations, or give rise to fresh musical responses that encourage people to reappraise the landscape around them.

Mapping Yorkshire

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[Caption: Fresh Yorkshire Aires celebrates the creative breadth of ‘God’s own county’. Photograph (c) 2016 by Matthew Moorhouse.]

In 2016, I commissioned a series of new graphic scores from artists based in Yorkshire, as part of a project called Fresh Yorkshire Aires. The scores were exhibited and published as a book compilation.

The brief was to create a score that drew inspiration from the landscape of the region.

Fresh Yorkshire Aires also includes an online showcase of graphic score work and sound visualising media by Yorkshire-based artists:


Hills and Mills

Katie English

Katie English (a.k.a. Isnaj Dui) was one of the artists commissioned. Her score reimagines the skyline around Halifax, tracing the landscape to create a sequence of graphic notation.

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[Caption: Katie English explaining her initial sketches to pianist Matthew Bourne.]

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[Caption: Halifax, England. Katie English used her score to map features like these to create a sequence of graphic notation.]

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[Caption: Hills and Mills by Katie English, pages 1 and 2]


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[Caption: Hills and Mills by Katie English, pages 3 and 4]

Katie says: "I decided to make my piece about my surroundings in Halifax. The town has a rich industrial history but is also surrounded by rolling hillsides and moorland and I felt that this visually dramatic landscape lent itself perfectly to a musical score.

I have included abstracted versions of a few local landmarks alongside the gentle slopes of the hills and criss-cross shapes of the moorland grasses, which reminded me of musical staves.”

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[Caption: Philip Thomas giving the premiere performance with Matthew Bourne, at The Gallery at Munro House, Leeds, June 2016. (Photo by Matthew Moorhouse, 2016)]



Jobina Tinnemans

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[Caption: Jobina Tinnemans painting her panoramic score, IMAGIRO]

Jobina Tinnemans’ scores titled IMAGIRO transpose her own “reading” of the Icelandic landscape into a vast panoramic score.

In IMAGIRO Landmannalaugar, the undulating horizon translates into sweeping lines of brushed ink.

Here, Tinnemans paints sweeping black lines to create the 24 metre x 1.5 metre score.


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The score requires the performers to progress across the length of the canvas…


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..opening up a single gesture into full harmonics from whichever angle the musicians are moving through the panorama.


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Jobina Tinnemans says: “Rugged wild landscapes with their hills and mountains read like music to me. The Icelandic use the work fjallasyn to describe a distant view, especially in clear weather and from a point where you can see a big part of a highland area – a panorama with many peaks.”

Video of IMAGIRO:

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[Read the rest of the series HERE.]