Enrique Cámara de Landa

Beyond the Staff: ‘Alternative’ Systems in the Graphical Representation of Organized Sound

In my paper I will propose a reflection on the limits of the staff in the representation of organized sound and the proposals that some ethnomusicologists have developed to highlight particular aspects of music. Some background will be considered, such as the melograph (Charles Seeger) and the graphical representation of the musical structure (Lortat-Jacob, Zemp). Other proposals will be commented, such as using spectrograms (Mireille Hellfer, Bernard Lortat-Jacob, Grazia Tuzi), graphic devices (Charles Adams), sonograms (Enrique Cámara), fingering notation (Cámara, Gerhard Kubik, John Blacking), local systems of notation (Baily and the sargam notation), analysis of the communicative mechanisms of musical knowledge (Frank Álvarez-Pereyre), and the multimedia and interactive analysis (Philippe Donnier). According to these proposals, the graphical representation of music beyond the staff maintains its efficiency in current ethnomusicology (with different objectives and even different targets).
Moreover, I will argue that it is necessary to take into consideration the place occupied by the use of these tools in the tensions and interactions betweenetic’ andemic’ perspectives, and the need to reconcile the internal consistency required for any system of visual representation of sound, with the need to make permanently flexible proposals based on intercultural dialogue (which is at the basis of all ethnomusicological study).