‘Suggestions for action’: Notation and movement in recent music by Christian Wolff

Emily Payne, Philip Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines indeterminate notations of experimental composer Christian Wolff. We align Wolff’s indeterminate notational practices, developed since the late 1950s, with recent contributions to performance studies, focussing in particular on a recent ensemble work, Resistance (2017). We present four case studies of types of notation that set up different modes of socio-musical interaction. Approaching Wolff’s notations as objects of ambiguity and disruption, we examine their consequences for the performers’ embodied relationships to their instruments, and their socio-musical interactions with one another. By investigating how the indeterminate notation of Wolff’s music both mediates and unsettles (collective) musical experience, our paper sheds new light on the function of notation in performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMusic Theory Online
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Jul 2020

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