New Artistic Possibilities with

The Max Maestro - An Animated Music Notation System

for Non-Professional Performers

6. Conclusions 

This exposition has presented the content and the artistic ideas and possibilities with The Max Maestro and reported from three live concert hall performances where The Max Maestro was implemented. The ambition with this study has been to contribute with new knowledge to the field of animated music notation. More specifically: - Which possible new artistic possibilities for composition and performance practices could arise when involving The Max Maestro in performances including non-professional performers?


The introduction began with one of my favourite quotations, by the composer Edgar Varese: - Music is organised sound. Until just recently, to perform organised sounds and especially organised sounds in multiple individual parts within the field of contemporary art music was intended purely for professional performers. The findings from this study have shown that the animated notation system of The Max Maestro could organise sounds in the shape of advanced musical textures to be performed by non-professional performers. The compositions have been performed together with a fixed electronic music part and/or a professional chamber orchestra. In other words: This opens up the possibility of exploring new artistic expressions made by various settings of non-professional performers. In this study the musical material performed by the non-professional performers included polytempic, polyrhythmic and pitch or noise cluster textures in various densities and dynamics. Furthermore, rhythmical accents synchronised with a fixed electronic music part and/or a chamber orchestra were also performed. As a composer I would like to highlight some of these, which were of special interest. (1) The voice crescendo in eight individual parts ending with a screaming texture in the first movement of Everybody Scream!!!. (2) The voice glissandi pitch textures in various densities in the sixth movement of Everybody Scream!!!. (3) The high-density polyrhythmic claves textures in twenty-four individual parts in the third movement of Animated Notation for Mixed Orchestra. (4) The polytempic handclap textures in eight individual parts in Put Your Hands Together. Indeed, professional musicians reading traditional notated scores led by a conductor could have performed some of these textures and probably with a similar artistic expression as a result. However, practically, it would have been hard or even impossible to gather forty percussionists or two hundred professional singers for these performances. Indeed, The Max Maestro would not be able to conduct the non-professionals to perform every single sound as accurately as a professional musician interpreting a detailed score. Still, the approximate notation of The Max Maestro gives instructions to make sounds within a limited frame, which in this study has shown to facilitate interesting artistic outputs. Furthermore, the ambition with The Max Maestro is not to replace the traditional notation system and the professional performers, but to enable new and unique expressions with non-professional performers as a complement to that.


Moreover, since The Max Maestro was shown to be very intuitive to follow and to facilitate the performances with short rehearsal time it is possible to include it in large audience participation settings. For instance facilitating a performance for a large audience with thousands of people divided into multiple parts e.g. using their mobile phones as instruments; furthermore, to facilitate performances with a concert hall audience and a professional symphony orchestra. However, the reports from the Animated Notation for Mixed Orchestra performance revealed that it was not optimal to use an electronic conductor to lead the chamber orchestra. Maybe it would have worked better to have a traditional human conductor following the pulse of the electronic conductor to lead the chamber orchestra. Still, the artistic output of the performance showed exciting possibilities for composing music for mixed orchestra settings.


This study has shown some of the new artistic possibilities of having animated music notation to conduct non-professional performers through the performance of fixed compositions. The three performances have indicated that unique artistic expressions could be achieved. As a composer I find it especially interesting to facilitate performances with crowds of non-professionals together with an electronic music part and/or a professional orchestra. Seen as a complement to the rich possibilities for artistic expression within the tradition of orchestra and electronic composition this approach could be fruitful. However, I encourage new research within the domain of animated music notation to further explore possibilities for new artistic expressions when including non-professional performers in compositions within the field of contemporary art music.