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Session 5A: Analysis Beyond Notation in 20th and 21st Century Music

Friday 19 September/Saturday 20 September
Session Convenors: Alessandro Bratus/Marco Lutzu

Friday 19 September

1 Theoretical Approaches
Chair: Mario Baroni

The first session of the day is an attempt to frame the following discussions within a shared perspective whose main points are shaped by recent theoretical developments in both popular music studies and ethnomusicology. Visual representation of sonic phenomena plays a relevant role in gaining a fresh perspective on issues such as the formal description of the popular song and for traditional repertoires. Having their main source in the recorded sound of a performance and not in a compositional project developed using written notation, the central significance of other parameters than melodic contour and rhythmic configuration calls for alternative modes of representation. These also represent different ways to conceptualize and make sense of the structural elements and of their mutual relationship, and may stress the many nuances and shades - in some cases also internal contradictions - pertinent to a given cultural object that sets the inner core of its social uses and meaning production in the interaction between text and context.

14.00     Alessandro Bratus
Kaleidoscoping the Simple. The Formal Definition of Popular Song between Analysis and Representation

14.30     Enrique Cámara de Landa
Beyond the Staff: ‘Alternative’ Systems in the Graphical Representation of Organized Sound

15.00     coffee break

2 Representing Recorded Sound and Rhythm
Chair: Alessandro Bratus

The session puts under close scrutiny the field of popular music, as an area of inquiry for music analysis in which issues related to the boundaries between what is written, orally or aurally transmitted, and performed are constantly blurred and crossed. Consequently, also graphic means to represent structures, patterns, relationship of the single parts within a whole can become important tools in the investigation on their formal and stylistic characteristics, with notation as only one - and perhaps not the best for all examples - tool to represent a compositional and expressive project that is primarily conceived as a sonic entity. The papers question a hierarchic view of the compositional parameters at work in this kind of contemporary cultural production, in which what can be transcribed by notation does not represent what is most relevant for the authors and listeners of the texts themselves. What is particularly stressed is the crucial role of technology and studio practices in the definition of the specificities of such repertoires, affecting the poles of both production - including issues related to single or collective authoriality - and reception - in terms of bodily responses and meaning production.

15.30     Simon Zagorski-Thomas
Sex On Fire: A Case Study of how Different Forms of Graphic Representation Can Influence Analysis

16.00     Errico Pavese
Interpreting and Representing Micro-Rhythmic Discrepancies and Spatial Dimensions in Dolcenera and A Cúmba by De André and Fossati

16.30     Hans T. Zeiner-Henriksen
The Analysis of Groove in Contemporary Pop Music

17.00     coffee break

17.30     Paolo Bravi
Workshop: What You Hear and What You Get. Manual Transcription and Melodic Analysis through ‘Praat’


Saturday 20 September

3 Representing Sound and Meaning
Chair: Enrique Cámara de Landa

The session, better understood as the presentation of a collective work on the problems related to the connections between sound, lyrics and timbre, is informed by a perceptual and experimental approach focused on the meaning produced by slightly different changes in the mix of the instrumental parts in a recorded version of a fragment from a work by Luciano Berio, Laborintus II. Here the approach reverses the perspective shared in other papers of the session, offering a counterbalancing glance on the same issues from a different point of view: how a written text can acquire different meanings not through the alteration of the performative indications prescribed by the score, but by playing productively within the indeterminate parameters that notation inevitably implies.

14.00     Mario Baroni/Roberto Caterina/Fabio Regazzi
An Example of Sound Analysis: Perceptual Responses to Different Instrumental Mixtures

15.00     coffee break

4 Representing and Visualising Performance
Chair: Simon Zagorski-Thomas

The last years have been characterized by a renewed interest in the analysis of the performance. At the bottom there is the belief for both ethnomusicological and musicological studies that music is a multilayered phenomenon that involves, among other things, the embodiment of the sound, the interaction among the performers and between them and the audience, and so on. Starting from examples taken from contemporary ‘art music’ and repertoires of oral tradition, the papers in this session show how different kinds of graphical representations of the performance can be useful both for prescriptive and descriptive purposes, enabling new paths for the analysis of music making.

15.30     Marco Lutzu
Representing the Performance in Ethnomusicological Studies

16.00     Stefano Lombardi Vallauri
The Composition of Experience (and its Notation) in the Musical-Holistic Art of Dario Buccino

16.30     coffee break                                          

5 Understanding Sound
Chair: Marco Lutzu

Whether it be improvised during the performance or the result of the interpretation of a written score, music is for the listeners first of all sound. This is a firm belief for the papers presented in this session, together with the idea that systems of graphical representation alternative or complementary to the staff notation can offer new opportunities to better understand and analyse the music as sound. Differing with respect to the kind of music taken into consideration as well as to the main aim (educational or analytical), the three papers focus both on theoretical and concrete problems concerning aspects like structure and timbre.                 

17.00     Freya Jarman
“It’s analysis, Jim, but not as we know it”: Teaching Analysis without Notation to a Class of Undergraduates with Radical Subject-Specific Diversity

17.30     Ingrid Pustijanac
New Graphic Representation for Old Music Experience: Analyzing Improvised Music

18.00     Olivier Koechlin
Experience and Perspectives of Interactive Multimedia for Musical Analysis