Material Music is a series of open ended graphic and tactile musical scores by Andrew Raffo Dewar designed to guide the creation of sound and movement based performances. They are composed of materials found in the Elsewhere collection chosen for their formal qualities- shape, color, texture- rather than for their meanings as objects. A small wooden tree, for example, is positioned on its side in one composition to appear as an abstract undulating green wave form, which a musician can interpret sonically by translating its visual qualities into sound elements like pitch, dynamic, tone color, and duration.
Raffo Dewar’s background is as a composer and performer of experimental music. In creating these scores he draws on a legacy of graphic scores that has its immediate roots at mid-century with composers such as John Cage, Cornelius Cardew and Earle Brown, who sought to open up new possibilities for musical performance and composition by using visual symbols from outside of the realm of traditional music notation. In creating “Material Music” Raffo Dewar looks beyond these composers to painters of the early 20thcentury like Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, who found paths into visual abstraction and new ways to compose and understand painting through an appreciation of musical forms. His scores invite reverse translations of abstract visual compositions that have the feel of these Modernists back into sound and movement. Interpreters channel the scores through their bodies and on their own terms to create their performances.
The scores can be found in the Fabric Workshop at Elsewhere, where they are available for study and performance.
Elsewhere is hosting performances of “Material Music” throughout the 2013 season. Check the events calendar for upcoming performances and contact Production Curator, Jennie Carlisle at firstname.lastname@example.org about participating in these events.