Alvin Lucier: Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music (2012)

1 October 2014, dusan

“Composer and peformer Alvin Lucier brings clarity to the world of experimental music as he takes the reader through more than a hundred groundbreaking musical works, including those of Robert Ashley, John Cage, Charles Ives, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Christian Wolff, and La Monte Young. Lucier explains in detail how each piece is made, unlocking secrets of the composers’ style and technique. The book as a whole charts the progress of American experimental music from the 1950s to the present, covering such topics as indeterminacy, electronics, and minimalism, as well as radical innovations in music for the piano, string quartet, and opera. Clear, approachable and lively, Music 109 is Lucier’s indispensable guide to late 20th-century composition.”

With a Foreword by Robert Ashley
Publisher Wesleyan University Press, 2012
ISBN 0819572977, 9780819572974
236 pages
via Sorin

Reviews: Richard Kade (Leonardo, 2013), Dave Mandl (LA Review of Books, 2013), Michael Waugh (Popular Music, 2013).


PDF, PDF (updated on 2017-11-25)
EPUB (added on 2017-11-25)

Vera Maletic: Body–Space–Expression: The Development of Rudolf Laban’s Movement and Dance Concepts (1987)

4 June 2014, dusan

“In May 1926, when the choreographer Rudolf von Laban came to America on an ethnographic mission to record Native American dances, a reporter accosted him before he had even stepped ashore. As Laban recounts in his autobiography, the journalist performed a wild tap dance on deck, proffered his starched cuff to the European dance artist, and said, ‘Can you write that down?’ Laban—who had pioneered a new grammar of movement called Kinetography, or script-dance—scribbled a few dance notation signs on the man’s sleeve. The hyperbolic headline announcing Laban’s arrival read: ‘A New Way to Success. Mr. L. Teaches How to Write Down Dances. You Can Earn Millions With This.’ One entrepreneur, tempted by that prospect, tracked Laban down at his hotel and offered him a fabulous amount of money to teach the Charleston and other dances by correspondence course. Laban spurned the get-rich-quick scheme: he did not want to be a part of what he dismissed as ‘robot-culture.’ 

To the untrained eye, Kinetography looks esoteric and occult, but to the few who can read it the complex strips of hieroglyphs allow them to recreate dances much as their original choreographers imagined them. Dance notation was invented in seventeenth-century France to score court dances and classical ballet, but it recorded only formal footsteps and by Laban’s time it was largely forgotten. Laban’s dream was to create a ‘universally applicable’ notation that could capture the frenzy and nuance of modern dance, and he developed a system of 1,421 abstract symbols to record the dancer’s every movement in space, as well as the energy level and timing with which they were made. He hoped that his code would elevate dance to its rightful place in the hierarchy of arts, ‘alongside literature and music,’ and that one day everyone would be able to read it fluently.” (from Christopher Turner’s essay in Cabinet magazine, 2009/10)

The intent of this present study is to offer an examination of the origins and development of Laban’s key concepts.

Publisher Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin/New York/Amsterdam, 1987
Volume 75 of Approaches to Semiotics
ISBN 3110107805, 9783110107807
265 pages
via joandleefe

Review (Valerie Preston-Dunlop, Dance Research, 1988)

PDF (40 MB)

See also works on Laban on Monoskop wiki.

Wolfgang Ernst, Friedrich Kittler (eds.): Die Geburt des Vokalalphabets aus dem Geist der Poesie: Schrift, Zahl und Ton im Medienverbund (2006) [German]

2 June 2014, dusan

Daß das Melodische an der Stimme notierbar wurde, ist eine kulturtechnische Leistung der altgriechischen Vokalalphabetisierung der Gesänge Homers. Verblüffenderweise wurden mit diesem Alphabet jedoch nicht nur Sprache und Musik, sondern auch Mathematik und Geometrie angeschrieben. Der interessante Befund liegt darin, daß damit von Beginn an – und einer inhärenten medienästhetischen Logik folgend – “alphanumerisch” avant la lettre operiert wurde. Diese sonst disziplinär entfernten Bereiche medienarchäologisch zusammenzudenken eröffnet eine neue Dimension von Kulturgeschichtsschreibung. Führende Vertreter neuester Forschungen aus den betroffenen Fächern (Altphilologie, Ägyptologie, Archäologie, Epigraphik, Gräzistik, Mathematik und Musikwissenschaft) werden zu diesem Zweck mit Vertretern der Kultur- und Medienwissenschaft – in dieser Form erstmals – ins Gespräch gebracht.

Mit Beiträge von Barry Powell, Rudolf Wachter, Friedrich Kittler, Jesper Svenbro, Wolfgang Rösler, Joachim Quack, Ludwig Morenz, Eva Canik-Kirschbaum, Sandrina Khaled, Gerald Wildgruber, Maarten Bullynck, Thomas Götselius, Joachim Latacz, Martin Carlé und Wolfgang Ernst.

Publisher Wilhelm Fink, Munich, 2006
ISBN 9783770542673
314 pages

Cultural techniques on Monoskop wiki


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