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The Perfored Score

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The Performed Score

On this page: {
Intro} {Stuff} {Elements} {The Expressed vs The Un-Expressed}


So, this being "YAP" (yet another page) in this on-going investigation as to what are the cf/qv (compare/contrast) (actually prob: contast/compare; etc). Anyway: cf/qv The aesthetics of "normal/traditional" performance with "performance art". In this case: The performed score. That is music/sound/etc. In the *stuff* section, {
below}, i go thru some of the ideas that surround the traditions of music/etc and its presentation.


Part of the problem is the concepts of continuity and coherence that are generally associated with the musical form. Traditional music (eg, read Bach/Jazz here) has the concept of a stated theme, then variations on it, and then a return and re-statement of the theme and with a *flourish* an exit of the piece. An important example is one of the bridging pieces of early 1900c French classical/jazzist composers. Note especially the "study piece" by Darius Milhaud (pronunskaiated" Dahr-ee Mee-you) called "The Bull of the Roof" (l'beuf sur la tois ?sp?). Which takes us thru all of the "keys" of the work, and then returns to the original theme. Similarly the oragan work by Charles Ives, "Variations on America" - which was banned by the Foreign Legion: Don't mess with the classics. As visual artists (and we have to sort limp across the stage as either sculptural objects that happen to be animated/audioated/etc or at the very least as "stiff robots" who speak the text (refer to my work "Art Cricism"). Thus, because music and theatre already exist as performance forms that are "legitimate", "accepted", "known", "recognisable", etc. - we use these forms to create something more "art like". So, what does that mean? If i come onto stage and there is a microphone there (eg, a STAND-UP mike with ostensible metal base (silver would be quite reflecting), and a large black electrical cable hooked up to it) - then the expectation is of an announcement, a speech, a performance, etc. Thus, the *cultural marker* of the mike - in this case a HARDWARE CULTURAL MARKER - sets up a whole slew of expectations for an IMPLIED script to be performed. If i have been introduced, and i walk onto stage with a violin under my arm or an harmonica, etc - then music is IMPLIED. If i walk into an area of the stage which has been DRESSED (eg, a set of a play, a couch or other INDOOR objects --or-- a tree, the side of a house, and other OUTDOOR objects --or-- a SPACE STATION, etc -- this HARDWARE cultural marker implies a play to be acted out. Similarly for a "performed score". We have instruments/people (band, orchestra, a choir, and of course the CONCERT HALL, chruch, or other building within which the arrangment of chairs, the separation of the "audience and performer" areas. And more often than not, a special designation for the "KappelMeister", band leader, orchestral conductor, etc -- all the "baggage" of traditional musical performance. In the modern era, we can include mikes, amplifiers, etc. Thus, the performed score has so much baggage that we have to deal with that it makes it more difficult to create other than musical scores. This is already well known to danse which has to over-come the expectations of FINE MUSICAL/SOUND REPRODUCTION which is almost exactly NOT the point. The danseurs have to "find the space" of suspended dis-belief that allows them to perform their visual art work in a space mainly dripping with musical connotations, expectations, traditions, etc. And into that same place, the performed score comes. Since we carry the *expected* ideas of art (even performance art) into the space, we have problems (much like the danseurs) right off the bat... If we present a fairly traditional work (eg, Joseph Haydan's "The Surprise Symphony"), then the fact that the work is expected to work thru the first (lullingly soft) bit of the score, and then the second (crescendo/forte) bit of the score. Now, of course things are marred by new the new CULTURAL MARKERS of the rock video. For example, the rap-er 50-cent is introduced and takes up the podium to perform the 1st bit of Beethoven's 9th and then after the first bit of the score, it launches into modern stuff - symphonic with applogies to rap as "lesser culture". The stiff substitution of the prime violin player with a sax player only serves to accentuate the "acceptance" of rap into the traditional orchestral venue. This is of course in the modern "nod/nod, wink/wink" that attempts to pass off pastiche as WELL-THOUGHT-OUT art works. Not that is a necessary component of art, but we take it as read that the works that DO get onto TV (cable/etc) are not just "spur of the moment" things - even, if they are *designed* and *exhibited* that way. Indeed as the editor of "Watching Television" Todd Gislin points out that, (not an exact quote, and with much re-arrangement and editing)... [That TV has the properties of] bolstering the romantic small-town American verities which serve as stabilisers of TV to create a glimmering dream enhanced by music, video, and showiness. But, all the while an undercurrent of commodity minded scripts designed to create/mould our identities. All of All of which blurs the line between the real and the copied, the authentic and the put-on. And all of this designed to keep TV's more sophisticated audience hooked. [Pp. 6-6] Gislin is summarising the essays in the collection, but the point is: It's rubbish: We know it's rubbish and you know it's rubbish - but since we BOTH know it's rubbish, then it's really COOL ! Thus, glibness of being able to say "well it's a collage" could easily be used to excuse the roughness of a performance work. And that's part of the problem: We are trying to create new works which are authentic (even though they may contain both elements of autographic and allographic things) and *actual*. But for the most part the public expects more. And i don't for a minute think that even i/we artists HAVEN'T been affected by the matrix. But, the point is as artists we can only give them so much. For example, consider a clown (yes, an actual clown) in live performance. With TV and FILM, we have been led to expecte PERFECTION -- all of the "out-takes" have been taken out. And of course, even the actors themselves have taken this up - adlibbin isn't usually done, and many re-takes have to be made to get it right. Now, consider the clown as singing; eg, Pagliacci ??sp??. Here the clowns actions and lines (spoken) must be "on the mark", and as it is OPERA, the pronunciation, inflection, and of course PITCH must be exact as well. A few (very few) times do we get to see authentic performances on TV. One example was on "The Weakest Link" (original Brit broadcast version), and a woman who danses (ie, goes out to dance clubs, etc) was asked by the Bridge Keeper (Ann the Terrible) to perform. (Ask of course is more to be thought of as COMMANDED or DIE! - it's part of the shticke of the show). And as it turns out, a rather chubby chap next to her was a DJ type (going by the authentic name "Bumble" - but probably not autographic - do we care?) was able to reel out several bars of music (on pitch i'd say 85% or better) and some beats (probably 90% or ++) - which was way cool to see on TV (not edited, and with minimum camera shot changes) to ACTUALLY give a live, authentic performance! That is, in this odd cicrumstance we see un-rehearsed (but on both of the performer's parts as individuals NOT un-practiced) scored part with danse. This goes back to the idea of singers who know a song and musicians who know the variations of a song. Note that the musicians must be able to match tempo/key/style to that of the singer. We would say that the singer has a NOTABLE style (ie, at the very least autographic, possibly able to be allographic - immitative, parody, tribute, etc), and the musicians (who are NOT the featured "dish of the day") become the "canvas" for the performance art work. Now, of course, in this case we see the merging of the systems: 1) The musician(s) and performer(s) must know the same script. 2) Their inter-working must be of sufficient adaptability for the work to "work" (again with Kitaj's dire warnings in the back (fore-ground) of our minds) 3) The audience must *accept* the work. Cf/Qv this with "American Idol" where the "bar" is so high as to be nothing short of absurd; well, at least i would *hope* arguably so.

The Score In and Of itself

But, again, we come back to our work in and of itself. Towards this, we need to look at the work and how it is performed and of course attempting to wade the moat of the "intentionalist falacy". If we take a simple work (eg, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", by Mozart) and use that as a starting place. We try to think what we can do with it - as it turns out it was used for the primary them of the film "IQ" which portrays Walter Matthau as Albert Einstein the match maker. Since we as artists know the work and its baggage, we might list: 1) A child's tune 2) A physical piece that ties in with actually watching the star's come "out" at night. 3) Fairly easy to play on the piano, etc. 4) Little "hidden agenda" - compare this with "Row, Row, Row your Boat" which tells us "life is but a dream" - v. diff aesthetic, me thinks. We can see this as part of a montaged work using the base indicators of night, a star, wishing, and of course childhood. And from those base indicators, we can of course generate much of the rest of the *assumed* text; eg, (and briefly) a) Night and Day - contrasts; sleep and wakefullness b) Children's delight in the simpliciities of thngs. c) Wishing for world peace, to see a long lost love/friend/family member/etc. ... Thus, from the base "text" (markers/indicators/promintories/etc), we then reflect it against the various "thousand natural shocks" that flesh is heir to (hamlet ref, natch you knew i'd slip that in somewhere). And from that we generate a "performed text" - either with or without theme. But. The inherited baggage of music is it's almost rigid formal aspects. For example, If we think of the Medieval Psalters, then we get things like "Bach" - but, i'd go back much futher to either Karl Orff's "Carmina Burinna" or Alexander Borodin's "Prince Igor" overture. We could of course embrace *the obvious* "Gregorian Chants". But, we need not. As dadaists, we could of course go to the extreme or such. If we think of portrature of famous people, then we get the traditon of works composed for formal occasions, etc. Early '20's/'30's Blues/Jazz in Harlem - this of course then picks up the art works of that era as well. This two-way street TRAPS us in that we are *supposedly* bound by "expectations" of the music/art of the period. That is: The MARKERS of the public's expectation set up the pre-conditions against our work is to be judged. THis is no different than "the general public's appreciation of the avante garde" (Will Insley) --or-- "business as usual". The the autographic (but arguably allographic) works of Thomas Kincaid still *weigh* more than most modern art. We don't have to time-trip back to the dust bin outside of Arshile Gorky's appartment to pick up the discarded gift art works as his guests leave to find that. So, that's about all i have for now. Or as an artist (music) frood of mine was challenged: "If you're performing works (ie, performance works as such) and no one is attending - then why do them?". Indeed. Why *do* we go on?


sounds, equipment, etc - should prob link to S/D page, etc...

The Un-expressed vs the Expressed

Now, consider John Cage's concert performed hours before the audience shows up. At the appointed time, the audience shows up (again, or so i am informed to know, and thus speak of there-with). They go in, sit down. Time elapses, and then they leave. I would assume that *some* of them would "get it" and actually applaud, yell "encore!" and such as would go on at a "regular" concert. So, what IS regular anyway? I think it's pretty clear that this concert borders into performance art. So, what can we do from that? Again, we can go to the "Shampoo" concert given by Naim Jun Paik (which as it turns out (at least in one perf) involved John Cage!). Of course, we know that much of this goes back to the dada'ists; -[
Dadaism]- -[Dada]- (main entry) mnore later, my muses command me to write the dada incident!!d