Mark Batty Publisher springs into its new season of distinctive volumes covering the graphic and communication arts with a comprehensive anthology of illustrated musical notation. "Notations 21", by New York-based musician and musicologist Theresa Sauer, features more than 300 pages of incredibly varied images that show how some composers use musical scores for much more than just instructions for musicians to play. Using a variety of nontraditional symbols, colorful paints and inks, photographic images and text, these composers show how they can turn musical scores into instruments of expression that graphically convey new information about the meanings or performances of their pieces.
Numerous works from Edition Samfundet's catalogue Edition Text & Graphix appear prominently in the new publication from Mark Batty Publisher.
With hundreds of illustrations provided by more than 100 composers from every continent on the globe, and original essays by most of the artists, "Notations 21" taps into such intriguing themes as how composers communicate effectively with performers through the styles of their musical notations, and how these notations engage listeners even when they have no knowledge of what the notations look like.
The book is also a testament to how music can inspire visual art.
"Regardless of their ages or nationalities, what all of the composers featured in this book have in common is the need to express their musical ideas visually, incorporating mixed media, cutting-edge technologies and groundbreaking philosophies," says Sauer, who is also a composer and educator. "The book also pays homage to composer John Cage and his book, 'Notations,' which was published 40 years ago." Cage's celebrated 1969 book presented a vast array of his own compositions as stark visual concepts.
According to Sauer, the continuing development of illustrated scores and innovative notation brings along with it an expansion of artistic freedom and advancements in musical improvisation. That becomes quite evident in "Notations 21," where the images range from standard notes on staff lines, to wild geometric shapes and patterns, to hand-drawn artwork and scribbles, to combinations of two or more styles in a single composition.
"This book is meant both to introduce people to the fascinating world of innovative notation and graphic scores, and to provide a forum for composers in search of new ways of bringing awareness of their compositions and philosophies to the forefront of music's collective consciousness," Sauer says. "There are new technologies and media today that were not available to John Cage in the 1960s."
"Notations 21" Theresa Sauer Music, Art 320 pages 8½ x 11 inches Color throughout Casebound ISBN: 978-0-9795546-4-3
(Merged from Mark Batty Publisher advertizing material)