"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 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.
[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: freshyorkshireaires.wordpress.com
Hills and Mills
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.
[Caption: Katie English explaining her initial sketches to pianist Matthew Bourne.]
[Caption: Halifax, England. Katie English used her score to map features like these to create a sequence of graphic notation.]
[Caption: Hills and Mills by Katie English, pages 1 and 2]
[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.”
[Caption: Philip Thomas giving the premiere performance with Matthew Bourne, at The Gallery at Munro House, Leeds, June 2016. (Photo by Matthew Moorhouse, 2016)]
[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.
The score requires the performers to progress across the length of the canvas…
...to musically interpret the textures and dynamics of her mark making...
..opening up a single gesture into full harmonics from whichever angle the musicians are moving through the panorama.
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:
[Read the rest of the series HERE.]