VVAA – Graphème, a publication for experimental musical scores (Volume 1)


smallest functional unit, ISBN-13: 978-3000701610, English, 64 pages, 2021, Germany

The encoding of information for a performative act is the fundamental mechanism behind notation and the creation of scores. This Western tradition has been challenged on many occasions before for example when performance art tried its own codes for representing abstract actions, information and instructions. Post-digital, there is a multitude of forms of representation, and the culture of scores is flourishing, especially in the experimental music scene. This emerges from the first volume of Graphème, a dedicated publication that brings together eleven unconventional notational formats of hybrid and graphic scores by international composers. These “idiosyncratic vocabularies and techniques” represent the need to incorporate visual and action-oriented elements, the use of space, the abstraction of processes, and the relationship between situated gestures in time. The editorial team of Graphème, who also contribute scores themselves, try to embrace and acknowledge this culture and its practitioners and plans to support them in the future through other forms of knowledge sharing. Inspired by the 1970s magazine Womens Work, edited by Alison Knowles and Annea Lockwood, and which showcased women artists with text-based and instructive performance scores, this print-only publication is a breath of fresh air and a promising start.