Art and music meet- graphic scores

Music notation is at best a compromise, at worst a lie. In western culture a five-line stave suspending a pattern of dotted notes established itself as the universal language, the most efficient way to communicate musical ideas, and for centuries it went largely unquestioned. But, in the 1950s, a number of composers – Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage among them – began to treat notation with less reverence, using it more like a tool that could be played with, personalised and, perhaps, improved.

Many of these “graphic scores” were intended to have an aesthetic value in their own right. In 1968, Cage and Alison Knowles published Notations, a collection of experimental scores that is as stylish and self-conscious as any artist’s book. Some of the pieces are on staves, others on graph paper, and yet more are like the febrile scribblings of some musical automaton.

Read on:


I am not sure I agree with the above statement, that music notation is a lie, but I find visual representations of music interesting.

From Classic FM website (which has a gallery of graphic/visual scores):

What is a graphic score?

Unlike the more traditional five-lined musical stave, with each line and each space representing a different pitch, a graphic score is a different way of notating a piece of music.


Above: Cilla Mc Queen-” Picnic”, for violins, oboe and bass guitar.