Text and Graphix

“The role of graphic notation in the world today is to broaden communication between composer, performer, and listener. When Western notation was first developed, the composer was concerned about creating a symbol to represent a sound. Composers still have that viewpoint but now have seen many more possibilities.” 

—Theresa Sauer, author of the book “Notations21” (Mark Batty Publishers, 2009), in an interview with Molly Sheridan, 2009.

Ivan Vincze: Sommerschaukel und Sprünge (1996) 

Graphic and other forms of new notation propose a workshop-like approach to rehearsing instead of the sight-reading practise. They allow ensembles (and soloists) to find their own, non-standardised sounds and rhythms, to perhaps explore new aspects of their instruments. Or to just play your own way. They open the door to different, more direct forms of communication between composer, musicians and audience – communication can be at the heart of the very musical structure. There is teamwork instead of “just playing what is written”, co-creating, both together and as an extension of the composers’ work. Improvisation is often part of this. Such works also challenge musicians with a new kind of disciplined study and decision-making. Often one would say that improvisation is encouraged or required. 

Jørgen Lekfeldt: Mirror Labyrinth (1997) 

Edition Text & Graphix is one of the very few existing publishers’ series of its kind on a world basis. We make it easy to browse through relevant materials, especially for ensembles. In addition to this repertory's innovative qualities it has practical virtues – you may play shorter or longer versions at different concerts, for instance. Or different ones, dividing the ensemble. Possibilities are endless.

Henrik E. Rasmussen: Pause Spirals (1997)

Music educators can also find relevant materials here. We have it all: text or graphics alone or combined, sign systems, use or non-use of elements from standard notation. Maybe the variety bears witness of Scandinavian eclecticism – judge for yourself! Browse the work list, see the article How it’s Done, see the FAQ below, and if you still need more info, ask us...


From Henrik E. Rasmussen: Take-Off Fantasy
From Henrik E. Rasmussen: Take-Off Fantasy


Why are works with new notations presented separately in a special series?

To make more clear the special nature of such works and how they differ. For easier access to those who seek them, because of their special possibilities or because of their flexibility of instrumentation or duration. Note, however, that works with optical or spatial notation ( = no bars, one centimetre equalling a defined amount of time) and standard notation with some additions may be found throughout the newer part of the Edition·S repertoire. Edition Text & Graphix contains the more radical ones.

Why at all use new notations instead of the well-known standard one?

See the introduction above.

How can one work with these pieces?

See the article How it’s Done

Why is this series offered on paper instead of in digital form?

There is a grand tradition of publishers offering selected works to institutions in a ready-to-use-form. Institutions trust publishers and their editors to have critically chosen works of high quality. Materials come in attractive-looking covers and many sizes besides standard A4 – far beyond capabilities of home printing and those of copy machines in convenience stores. And we have made sure the copy quality is perfect. We are not, however, against digital publishing and are considering adequate solutions for the future.

Is this all about improvisation?

Everything depends on the work and the player. If it’s very detailed you might not feel you have much freedom to improvise, but that does not necessarily mean the work is not OK. See also the introduction above.

Do you grade educational works into levels of how easy they are and whom they are suited for?

No, works were not created for specified educational use. You need to find out for yourself. See the article How it’s done.

Notations using text and graphics expand the possibilities of traditional notation both with regard to sound, form, and the role of the musician. As already suggested by the article How it’s done, there is an immense diversity within the ways these are employed, as well as their approach to aesthetics. Some employ traditional notation to a greater or lesser degree, while others aim to cultivate a new forms. Lars Heegaard’s 5 sonograms, for example, makes a gradual move away from traditional notation the very theme of his collection, while Henrik E. Rasmussen’s large catalogue of works provide almost as many investigations into how to express ideas in notation.

Most works are for concert use, although you may find ideas for educational use – for instance with the works of Helmer Nørgaard, Johan Toft and jørgen plaetner. Henning Christiansen and Peter Wallin relate to the Fluxus movement, while Irene Becker, Dan Marmorstein, Fredrik Søegaard and Laura Toxværd have background in jazz/rock music. The work list below aims to provide an introductory selection.

For a larger selection of relevant works, the category ‘open instrumentation’ often goes hand in hand with new notations and open durations, though in some cases you may find relevant works under some of the other categories.