6. Ng revisited (2018)


“The consequence of the special status of the music-making body as simultaneously a subject and object is that physical presence cannot be quantified in the same way as the pitches or durations in scaled, parametric musical space. Using the body as scalable material—either as a sculptural presence in space or a kinetic object whose movements can be determined in the form of choreographic patterns—inevitably also implies an intervention in the corporeal basis of musical experience” (Craenen, 2014, p. 203).


 Trying to state my case at the end of this reflection there are two things that I would like to start by addressing:

     1)   though I have tried to avoid it, I realize that I display tendencies of eclecticism in this written account of my artistic research, this reflection, as it were. These tendencies could be symptoms of over reaching, trying to have my research relate to too many music genres and theories, but it could also—more emphatically—be seen as a delineation of sorts in attempting to explain what I try to do by showing what I do not. Would it have been preferable if I would have given an efficient explanation of exactly where to put my music in a canon that today seems to have collapsed? Trying to explain myself more theoretically, I again lean on the writings of Claes Entzenberg (with the risk of becoming redundant): “ …the development from the sixties onwards is what makes history (of art) difficult to write: I do not think that we can find many people, if any, that can give us a correct map of art” (Entzenberg, 2013, p. 20). If I am to try and understand the art—or music—world today it seems to me that efficiency through historical and canonical ratios alone simply does not cut it. Then again, Entzenberg goes on to write that: “…this is not an effort to create something that can be seen as a sort of illusive freedom for all artists” (Entzenberg, 2013, p. 20). And: “We must have theory, but not one grand theory. We have an object/event but without context we cannot tell anymore whether it is art” (Entzenberg, 2013, p. 20). Though we have arguably already moved beyond the postmodern period, I believe that what Susan McClary writes on the matter is still of interest:  

…I would claim that Postmodernism—with its rejection of entrenched master narratives—demands of us a for more diversified way of telling the history of music than we have previously permitted ourselves to entertain: a history that includes medieval liturgists, Renaissance courtiers, Austrian symphonists, Canadian country/western singers, and rappers from Long Island, a history of perpetual bricolage and fusions of hand-me-down codes and conventions—a history in which Western musicians have always been reveling in the rubble (McClary, 2000, p.169).


     Seen in the light of Entzenberg’s and McClary’s accounts, the argument could even be made that I have not been eclectic enough. Why do I insist on putting my music and artistic research so stubbornly in the field of western art music? I do so because I am not as familiar with many other fields of music. Because of my upbringing and studies, I do— indeed—know more about jazz music, but I believe that what drives me in this case is the curiosity of entering a field that I am certainly familiar with, but that I do not know so well as to render me feeling detained and exhausted. As I do not come from the classical music tradition, I also believe to perhaps have a, dare I say, more sober perspective when it comes to the pride of this particular genre; not forgetting that the history of western art music as well as European aesthetics has upheld ideas of white and masculine superiority—though this is not something that has been emphasized in the research. I believe that I can manage to  circumvent a dichotomy of for-or-against; where one either digs a trench by the foot of this canon out of shame for one's love of a music with an undeniable problematic history, or forces oneself to detest a music that one enjoys, because of its broken past. In the end, it is the theories—and to an extent—practices of western art music that I have based my music- choreography on.

2) The focus (regardless of this perhaps unnecessarily long text) of my artistic research is Ng and Ng revisited and how they correspond to each other when juxtaposed; technically, theoretically, speculatively, aesthetically, in how they sound and operate. In line with the reasoning of artistic research—as I understand it—my most important contribution lies there, tacitly. I will now continue by trying to give an account of my work with the scored music of Ng revisited.


 6.1 Fantasies


Coming back to the reasonability of fantasizing, somehow abruptly ending the discussion on reality-music from chapter 1.3; other accounts of music that does not depend on the mediation of instruments, objects, computers, etc., can to my understanding be embedded in the fantasy or almost metaphysical speculation of music as an idea. Thomas Mann touches on this in Doctor Faustus through the fictional lectures of Wendell Kretzschmar:


One might very well say, music “appeals to the ear”; but it did so only in a qualified sense—that is, only in those instances where hearing, like any other sense, acted as the conduit, the receptive organ for the intellectual content. But in fact there existed music that did not reckon at all with ever being heard. That was the case with a six-voiced canon by J.S. Bach, in which he had reworked a thematic idea by Frederick the Great. In it one had a piece that was intended for no sense-based realization whatever, but that was music per se, music as pure abstraction. Perhaps, Kretzschmar said, it was music’s deepest desire not to be heard at all, not even seen, not even felt, but, if that were possible, to be perceived and viewed in some intellectually pure fashion, in some realm beyond the senses, beyond the heart even (Mann, 1997, p. 68).


It seems that the sedimentation of music as instrumental sound happened during the rise of absolute music: “the idea of “absolute music” […] consists of the conviction that instrumental music purely and clearly expresses the true nature of music by its very lack of concept, object, and purpose” (Dahlhaus, 1989, p. 7). After the dominance of absolute music, music as an idea abstracted from physical and sensual manifestation is today being investigated again. The composer and artistic researcher Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard from the Royal Danish Academy of Music is currently conducting a research project called Music for the inner ear, where he investigates whether a written account of a non-existing concert still can be regarded as music. And together with the Danish composer and sound artist Jacob Kierkegaard, et al. he makes the curatorial non-events Curatorium in Copenhagen annually; events that only exist on social media and as posters, describing an upcoming music festival with elaborate liner notes written specifically for Curatorium by noted composers on music that will never be played. In the score of Ng revisited I have adopted this fantasizing by at points basing the composition on stories or descriptions of Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka. Deliberately missing the point that Løkkegaard et al. makes, I have let these fantasies drive part of the composing; trying to have their literary account come true by realizing them in practice. The two fantasies that I have worked with are:


The music of Ephrata, Kretzschmar told us, had been too unusual, too strangely unorthodox, to be adopted by the outside world, and it had therefore fallen into practical oblivion once the sect of German Seventh Day Baptists had ceased to flourish. But a memory of it had been passed like some faint legend down through the decades, so that one could more or less describe why it had been so exceptional and moving. The tones emanating from the chorus had imitated delicate instrumental music, evoking a sense of heavenly sweetness and gentleness in those who heard it. It had all been sung falsetto, the singers barely opening their mouths or moving their lips—a most marvelous acoustic effect. The sound, in fact, had been cast upward toward the fairly low ceiling of the meeting house, and it had seemed as if those tones—unlike anything known to man, unlike any form of church music, at any rate—had descended from on high to float angelically above the heads of the congregation (Mann, 1997, p. 74).


–A quote from Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus, and:


They did not speak, they did not sing, they remained generally silent, almost determinedly silent; but from the empty air they conjured music. Everything was music, the lifting and setting down of their feet, certain turns of the head, their running and their standing still, the positions they took up in relation to one another, the symmetrical patterns which they produced (Kafka, 1931/1971, p. 281)...


-A quote from Franz Kafka’s Investigations of a Dog. Remembering my reluctance to approach theatre, from the discussion in chapter 2.2, this could perhaps come off as antithetical. Be that as it may, I would argue that I simply used these fantasies of music, these literary accounts as inspiration and created music out of them—not theatrical representations. Rather, I try to position myself closer to someone like e.g. choreographer Janne-Camilla Lyster, who writes in the abstract to her artistic research project Choreographic poetry: creating literary scores for dance: “[t]hrough my artistic research project, I aim to develop literary scores for dance, and search for approaches and examine the outcome of procedures connected to writing, composing and adapting such scores” (Lyster, 2016) or the Wandelweiser composer Manfred Werder in whose recent works:”…a single quotation often constitutes the entire score. 20094, for example, consists of a fragment taken from the work of French essayist and poet Francis Ponge” (Barrett, 2016, p. 56). This can also be understood as an explicit consequence of the condition under which the music is created; that it is both music and artistic research. Quoting is a fundamental part of research and as such there are quotes of other music (Adrian Knight’s Marble Fanatics discussed further down) even in the score. There are segments in the score that consists of read texts, this very text being one of them, in my mind attempting to investigate what artistic research can offer my music, and not ending up at a point where my argumentation only concerns what my music can offer academia.

On an even smaller note, the ‘re’ in Ng revisited could perhaps be seen as to suggest an attempt at a more conventional scientific approach to research. I do, however, agree with Dieter Mersch’s notion that artistic research: ”…is not research as it is usually meant, but a continuous voyage in criticism, a passion that does not put results first but strives for change in attitudes.” (Mersch, 2017) And, when discussing Alvin Lucier’s Music for Solo Performer, he points out that: “… this artistic experiment is linked in the literal sense to experience – and I emphasize the ‘ex’ here for erecting or opening, an – ‘ex-perience’ or journey you can only do once. Once you did it, it allows no repetition. You cannot do it in a better way. You can only do it differently. But once you did it, you enter a new realm, a new territory in art” (Mersch, 2017). Ng revisited is not an attempt at doing Ng better, but differently—and hopefully this new piece of music, for Ng revisited is a new piece of music, can be something that Ng was not.


 6. 2 Friends and family


“Friends and neighbors that’s where it’s at” (Coleman, 1970/2001).


Instead of relying on a strategy like Brian Ferneyhough who: “acknowledges that the technical difficulty of the pieces enshrines an ‘in-built defense mechanism against uncommitted performers’” (Fitch, 2013, p. 38). I have chosen to work with an ensemble of people I have great respect for and trust in. The ensemble who performed Ng has changed little when coming back to perform Ng revisited. As mentioned in chapter 1.2, Ng was performed by Ingeborg Zackariassen, Joakim Enevik Karlsson, Linda Oláh, Sofia Jernberg, Toby Kassell, myself, and Ng revisited will be performed by Ingeborg Zackariassen, Jennifer Torrence, Linda Oláh, Sofia Jernberg, Toby Kassell and myself. I also owe much of the particular techniques, strategies and material to people that are in the ensemble, or people that I have met either professionally or in my personal life. The ‘flutter-tongue on the upper lip’ technique, used in Ng, Barren and Blaha Lujza Tér comes from Linda Oláh, certain spatial strategies comes from Toby Kassell’s concept of spatial composition described in one of the etudes of the barren cont. budapest double quartet score, the ‘drip’ sound from hitting ones cheek with the finger and forming an ‘o’ with the lips, that can be heard in Ng and Ng revisited was something my older brother Niklas Jutterström used to do for me when I was a child, hitting the lips with a the palm of the hand while singing on ‘o’ was taken from a solo improvisation of Casey Moir, etc. The fact that I choose to make—and believe to be able to create the best—music by collaborating with a close group of colleagues and friends might perhaps be traced back to when I first heard the record First Meditations (1965/1977) by John Coltrane’s quartet or Nefertiti (1967/1968) and E.S.P (1965) by Miles Davis’ quintet. The way that the musicians—John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones and Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams respectively— played together as ensembles seemed to me to be out of this world. It still does. So, when pursuing jazz music at an early age I never played with too many different musicians. My own virtuosity as an instrumentalist was never my goal, but to achieve the almost telepathic— or e.s.p.-like, as it were—quality in ensemble play that I believed John Coltrane’s quartet and Miles Davis’ quintet to be displaying. In my research project, trying to define a new—at least to me—musical reasoning and challenging certain conventions, it has been invaluable to be able to keep consistent collaborations as the feel, aesthetics and implicit communication have been negotiated in practice and through joint experimentation. Needless to say, I am also very lucky to be able to work with such skilled, knowledgeable and sensitive musicians and dancers.


 6.3 Improvisations and experiments


In preparation for composing Ng revisited I also experimented on dance improvisation together with Ingeborg Zackariassen. She taught me some basic techniques and methods, one of them being contact improvisation; “exercises that defused the primacy of the visual and focused intensively on the perception of touch” (Foster, 2011, p. 117). We also tried to apply reasoning stemming from Barren as we would attempt to improvise with our eyes closed taking the cues of the other dancer solely by sound, expanding the touch-based method of contact improvisation, but staying somewhat faithful to one of it’s core aims, as Susan Leigh Foster explains: “contact improvisers purposefully dehabitualized their bodies’ tendencies to rely on the visual for orientation” (Foster, 2011, p. 117).




 6.4 The score


“Now she’s on the dance floor, she’s in the corner of my eye” (Knight, 2016).


During my research, starting at study piece 2: Blaha Lujza Tér, I looked at ways of notation from the field of choreography. I was looking for a way of fusing an already established choreographic notational system with music notation. Aware that there is a tradition of challenging the, since long, established five bar lines of music notation by means of graphic notation, written language, signs specific to singular pieces, and literary bending them to the will of the composer as in Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise, I felt that I needed to try and come up with a less esoteric way of conveying the information I needed; especially seeing as this is a research project. This way, at least the argument can be made that if my music would be of interest to anyone else there are already systems of notation to work with. The two systems of dance notation that I looked into were Choreutics (perhaps more known as Laban notation), and Choreology (perhaps more know as Benesh) notation. My knowledge of these systems comes from the books Choreutics written by Rudolf Laban and edited by Lisa Ullmann, and Reading Dance: The Birth Of Choreology by Rudolf and Joan Benesh. For me as someone used to reading music notation, Choreutics certainly seemed more complex. It, as far as I have been able to understand, also concerns itself more with ‘scales’ and codes from the field of dance, mostly addressing ways of notating movement inside what Rudolf Laban calls the ‘kinesphere’, i.e. a space defined by how far we can reach with our limbs from a stand-still position. Choreutics seems less of a simple visual representation than Choreology, and in any case it does not correspond with the five bar lines of music the way that Choreology does. Because of these reasons Choreology seemed more applicable  to music notation and is consequently the system I chose to work with. In line with how Choreology is usually notated, the bar lines that adhere to that type of notation are red in the score, whereas the bar lines of the music notation are black. There are instances, however, where Choreology strangely seem to not be specific enough for the movements I envision and where there were no established music signs that I knew of to fill the gaps. At those instances I fall back on the symbols I created when composing Ng, or simply create new ones. Granted, this can be due to a lack of understanding Choreology from my part, seeing as I have only studied it briefly. I realize, of course, that Choreology needs to be understood in relation to the practice of dance—a practice I am only distantly familiar with—so there is surely an argument to be made that these specifics are implicit in the different symbols of the notation system. But seeing as I hope to place Ng revisited at least as firmly, if not more, in the field of music where this implicit knowledge cannot be counted on, it does not change anything for me. Then, surely, working with an ensemble that I know so intimately I could just as easily have conveyed most of this information by simply discussing it with them—that will also, most likely, happen during our rehearsals—something that is also emphasized by the fact that I know that the entire ensemble does not read Choreology. I still felt the need to try as much as possible to step out of the esotericism that can be found in Ng. In the Ng revisited score, music notation and Choreology will also be mixed with a top-down perspective that renders the sheet into a representation of the floor where the piece is to be performed. Something that might recall Pierre Beauchamp’s late seventeen-century Feuillet notation, being: “…a single planimetric representation of the dancing body that highlighted its directionality, the path it took through space, and the motions of the feet and legs” (Foster, 2011, pp. 19 – 20). Similarly to Ng the sheets of Ng revisited have the numbers 1 – 9 written on them (though there were 14 numbers in Ng). The numbers represent points in the room in relation to which the different movements will be performed. I chose not to work with Choreology to convey points and movement in space, as the choreological approach is to fixated on the stage—with a clear front—in relation to which the position is specified. When discussing my attempts at utilizing a dance-notational strategy with my colleagues in the dance field it is not rare that the response I get is something similar to what Myriam Van Imschoot writes in her article Rest in pieces: “…dance as a practice has never reserved the term «score» for a precise object, codified by notation, which can then be executed with exact precision during a performance” (Van Imschoot, 2005, p. 3)7. In relation to Ng revisited my argument, however, remains that seeing as this is foremost a piece of music, an art field that is (at least in the western art music tradition) extremely occupied with notation, sometimes almost to the point of fetishism, finding an already existing strategy for notating what I needed seemed reasonable. As a researcher, I also believe that it might grant me more credibility –if not by a lot. Furthermore, I have also browsed Howard Risatti’s New Music Vocabulary, Erhard Karkoschka’s Notation in New Music and Alison Knowles and John Cage’s Notations in an attempt at not reinventing signs that are already part of an established vocabulary. There I learned, among many other things, that Enrique Raxach’s notational strategy for having the performer:”[r]ub the feet on the floor in a circular manner” (Risatti, H. 1975, p. 46), or “[s]crape feet on floor in circles” (Karkoschka, 1972, p. 69) seems to correspond quite closely with the choreological strategy I applied to have the performers write out a quote from Béla Tarr’s Werckmeister harmóniák with their feet on the floor. The circles that the percussionist performs with “Paper (normal A3 paper)” (Abrahamsen, 2008, p. 8) in the Canon 1b of Hans Abrahamssen’s before-mentioned Schnee also reminds me of the circles—notated choreologically—in Blaha Lujza Tér (2016) and Ng revisited (2018), though (in the case of Schnee) without further information of how the rest of the performer’s body is to be positioned. The Ng revisited score as such does, in a sense, represent the research that I have conducted over three years in that it compiles chorographical strategies, more esoteric ones and ones that are to be considered as canonical in the western art music tradition –and superimpose them over each other; hopefully resulting in the collapse of perspectives described above in chapter 3.

     Andreas Hiroui Larsson once very pedagogically explained that one can regard the project of fine arts and Hegel’s dialectics as finished; that the art of the enlightenment was its thesis, romanticism its antithesis, modernism its synthesis and then Hiroui Larsson himself proposed to regard postmodernism as its coda. Trying to work with the consequences of this situation, it was problematic for me that I could not shake the feeling that I was not managing to escape the “almost obliviously modernist approach” I criticize Ng for in chapter 1.4 while thinking about and working with the Ng revisited score. I felt an urgent need to challenge myself on that point. Remembering how the segment where the performers of barren cont. budapest double quartet replayed music while staying essentially motionless piqued my interest, I started thinking of using a similar approach in Ng revisited to—ultimately—escape my own limitations. Having been struck by composer and songwriter Adrian Knight’s pop music for some time, his song Marble Fanatics seemed the perfect match to break up the movements and soundscapes of Ng revisited. As with the presentations of my research project, I could simply quote Knight’s music. My take on Knight’s pop music is that it succeeds at inhabiting the suggestive post-modern position where complete seriousness, pastiche and irony seem impossible to separate and work in perfect tandem. In the context of Ng revisited, Marble Fanatics would provide a contrast, both in the sound image and movements but also as a suggestion of a longing for conventional music. When replayed the ensemble plays air instruments and mimes the lyrics, but we do so with such small gestures that they will not be perceivable if one does not focus intensely on them; at first glance, falsely depicturing a dynamic of motionlessness to the sound of replayed music. An action that, in a sense, also goes all the way back and reconnects—as artistic representation—with Godøy and Leman’s Musical Gestures. Sound, Movement, and Meaning, discussed in chapter 1.4: “people very often make, or imagine, movements when listening to music” (Godøy & Leman, 2010, p. ix). The connection to Godøy and Leman is peripheral at best and hardly eloquent. Strip away the instrument and the argument can be made that you are left with a constantly underlying choreography.


“Soft liquid moonlight, a hundred thoughts on granite walls. Marble fanatics should never have to go to work at all. […] Strangers to our degree of luxury now rule the world as far as I can see. Oh no, they’re murdering the feel of our little community. Murdering the feel of our little community” (Knight, 2016).


Ng (2013)

7 My translation; original: ”…la danse comme practique n’a jamais réservé le terme «partition» à un objet précis, codé par une notation, qui pouvait dès lors être exécuté avec une grande rigueur au moment de la performance.”

 6.5 Closing remarks


“All the paths we have trodden, as speculative as some of them may have been, have ultimately led us to a music-making body” (Craenen, 2014, p. 262)...


What I have done within the framework of my artistic research project is essentially trying to refine a music-choreographic aesthetic expression. I have attempted to make music out of choreographic-, or dance- movements and displacements; insisting at times on a music interpretation of something that is usually not seen as included in a conventional—in my mind not always thought through—understanding of music as a practice or art field. Starting out with Ng, a piece of music that was made as a reaction—on impulse more than carefully calculated, —I have tried to see critically what this approach actually holds up for. Stemming from a personal desire, I have tried to create a space for myself where I can escape the conventions of music—even music that is generally seen as more unorthodox, by excluding the music instrument. In a sense desperately looking for something more substantial than technique and beautiful sounds—though I am well aware of the futility of such an endeavor holding up as something universal; it can ever only be subjective. Simultaneously I have tried to define my role as an artistic researcher. This made me investigate the relationship between language—something I saw as a prerequisite for academic reasoning—and my artistic pursuits. As a result language, either spoken or written, has featured in my music, creating perhaps a music-choreographic-poetic expression rather than just the music-choreographic one that I initially intended.

     I will now do my best to state my case, however, and try to answer the questions I ask at the end of chapter 1.4.1—hoping that they are also tacitly—perhaps more to the point— answered in the piece Ng revisited: 1) Can my choreographic approach offer a substantial donation to western art music theory and practice? 2) Can such a premise challenge how music notation is approached and help expanding how music structure is thought of beyond how it is communicated through notation? 3) Can it change time measuring mechanisms of music and advance the way space is approached?

     1) To my knowledge there are few accounts of western art music—in fact none comes to mind—that completely abandon the instrument for a choreographic approach. Would such an endeavor simply tip over into the field of dance? I do not necessarily think so, but I believe that such an argument is most convincingly made in practice. Whether this approach is “a substantial donation” to western art music theory and practice, I believe can really only be assessed by whoever experience it. Personally, this approach and the opportunity to conduct research on it have revolutionized my own relationship to music –I can hardly expect this to be the case for anyone else. There are, however, voids that I believe to have identified in western art music reasoning on less of a personal plane. Voids that I try to—if not fill, at least—enter; whether that would pose as a substantial donation however is out of my hands and, again, more up to whoever hears my music and however they react to it. Western art music seems focused on instrumental sounds to the point where instrument, or object, and music almost becomes synonymous. I believe that there are other possibilities to investigate, two of which being a choreographic approach and language as an approach. The conventional music score could perhaps, slightly simplified, be said to be choreography; it might not even necessary to make such a big gesture of it as Simon Steen-Andersen does in his score to Next To Beside Besides: “[w]hat if the composition was thought of as a choreography for musician and instrument—with sound as a consequence” (Andersen, 2003/2006)? –this could be said to always be the case, whether seen as actions prescribed by a score, or as a description of the actions that the musician performs. A musician reading a score moves their body in relation to their instrument in accordance with what they read and the sounds appear. I have, with my research project, attempted to further investigate the consequences of a choreographic approach to music where the safety of an instrument vouching for it being music is gone. Even in a piece like Thierry De Meys Musique de Table where three percussionists play on a table or table-like surfaces, indeed notated with a precision of how the hand should hit this surface to a point that tangent choreography, things are being played. In Blaha Lujza Tér (2016) the floor is being played. Is there really a significant difference? I believe that there is. To a point. The floor is part of the room where the piece is performed and always sounds if one moves around in that room. Unlike Musique de Table, Blaha Lujza Tér (2016) then points to the fact that a human moving around in space makes sound. As a theoretical claim this is hardly eloquent or convincing, but as a starting point to make artistic choices and composing music it has, at least to me, been richer.  How well this plays out in my scores and the performances of my music is of course always up for debate, but this could at least, arguably, be said to be an attempt at a donation or a furthering of western art music theory and practice.

     Language and music, similarly to choreography and music, has a relationship that goes back all the way to when it, at least for western culture, was defined; something that I try to show in chapter 2.2. My approach to this has been to have my academic reasoning, in language, become part of my music material.

     2). As discussed in chapter 6.4 the notational strategy that I have reached through my research tries to make sense in several ways: as western art music notation, as a personal account of music, as choreography, but also as research –represented most clearly by the use of literature and spoken language. The part of the question where I ask if the—musical- choreographic—premise of my research can challenge how music notation is approached can of course only be answered in relation to particular accounts of other significant music notation. Opening the five bar lines of western music up for something else –other possibilities of mediation, is in no way anything new but the question that I believe needs to be asked is whether the notational strategy makes sense in relation to, or indeed as part of, the particular music that it is—or represents. With that being said, the use of choreographic notational strategies, Choreology in the case of this research project, in a music score is not something that I have seen before –though the music of Raxach and Abrahamssen, described above, certainly reminds me of it. In conveying my ideas to an ensemble I could just as well have looked at Kagels score Pas de cinq as the opening segments of both Ng (2013), Barren (2015) and Ng revisited (2018) are also reminiscent of that piece. If I had done that the ties to western art music would also have been clearer. But in choosing to borrow a notational system from dance instead, I believe to underline the ambivalence I write about in chapter 1.3. I dare say, then, that the use of Choreology makes sense in the context of this research project. Does this challenge how music notation is approached? Does the novelty of a choreographic notational system really stand a chance of opening up for a major shift in music notation? Of course not, but mostly because–in line with the reasoning of Entzenberg and McClary, above—that this is not what is at stake today. My personal reasoning and positioning in relation to several accounts of western art music, its history and theories could however perhaps be of interest. The second part of my question, whether the premise of my artistic research project can expand how music structure is thought of beyond how it is communicated through notation, thusly has to be read in relation to what music I personally react to. Though several accounts of music certainly acknowledges the importance of space, e.g. the above mentioned piece Pas de cinq by Kagel, Cathy Van Eck in the piece Wings, Pierluigi Billone in his piece Quattro Alberi (2011), John Cage, when he writes: “Sound takes place in space” (Cage 1969, there are no page indications in the edition of Notations that i have access to), Pierre Schaeffer in his musique concrète, Denis Smalley in his Spectromorphology, or Jacob Ullmann in the recordings of his music, together with many, many other accounts, I feel that there is a somewhat of an overseen opportunity in the simple movements of human bodies in space. Even Yoann Durant in his music for solo saxophone (generally making much use of space and the possibility of moving around in it) does so with his saxophone, or other objects, in hand. Therefor I do dare to make the argument that I at least attempt to expand western art music structure, or make a small contribution to it –if only within the space that I have allotted myself. Whether this will be a substantial contribution, however, remains to be seen.

     3) The music that has been created within the frames of my artistic research project generally lacks bar lines, divisions and timelines. Instead I have decided to work with cues (though barren cont. budapest double quartet could be seen as an exception). This places the length and rhythm of the music in the actual actions performed, which could be said to open the time measuring mechanisms of western art music up for something that is not—or at least has not been—the convention. Alone it does not constitute as a possible change in the time measuring mechanisms, as there are several other examples of music and scores that operate in this manner. But in the ratio between a cue based score and trust in body time –as borrowed from the field of dance, there could perhaps be something worth mentioning. Toby Kassell describes the concept of body time as something that dancers are trained in. Instead of counting a strict beat, or feeling it in your body for that matter, dancers seem to take their timing more from the feel of and length of their gestures; in that sense (and with great risk of generalizing) I would argue that there could be more room for fluidity in dance. Dancers, granted when not dancing to a music score, seem to generate their own rhythm in less of a mathematical way than musicians in a conventional sense. In making that argument I of course disregard music such as improvised music and certain other examples from the field of western art music. Working in synergy with the cue based disposition and overall lack of time indicators in the scores that I have composed the music could basically be as long or short as imaginable. But more interestingly the rhythm and timing is not handed down as a prescription possible to be read, but has to be performed as it exists only in that very moment–and never as a forethought. When asking if my research could advance the way space is approached in music I am far more literal than Paul Craenen when he compartmentalize space as either surrounding-, for-, or of- the music –in a sense similar in scope to Christopher Small’s verb musicking. My investigations are closer situated to the actual spatiality in Craenen’s mapping of music as from here, there or somewhere. In fact, the reality of space is, in Ng, Barren and Ng revisited a prerequisite for the music itself as certain sounds are made by displacements. Space is not only a matter of an acoustics reality that the music exists in, but activating the scores mean activating the space by moving around in it. I believe that I am pointing to this, partly overseen, basic fact: that human movement alone produce rhythmic sounds possible to cultivate toward music, and that this could be a catalyst for other composers, musicians, or choreographers and dancers for that matter; as such arguably advancing how space is approached in western art music.

     As an artistic researcher, language has become an imperative part of my musical reasoning and practice. This, I believe is apparent in all pieces that my research project encompasses, with the possible exception of barren cont. budapest double quartet, and most explicitly so in the presentations of my research. I am in agreement with Darla Crispin when she writes that: “…how it is written is part-and-parcel of what it says” Crispin, 2014, p. 139), and this is also a point that I believe is an important aspect of artistic research at large. Lastly, while I have my own particular strategy and my own reasoning, I do position my music and my research in the periphery of the opening that G Douglas Barrett’s envisions in a musicafter sound. When discussing Pussy Riot, Ultra-red, Wandelweiser, Hong-Kai Wang, Peter Ablinger, Cassie Thornton, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, he explains this reasoning:


”Ultimately, through their practices of mobilizing bodies, staging participation, and organizing collectivity, these artists, I argue, deploy forms of composition: they recognize a broader need to put together and assemble, to construct and compose radical forms of commonality. Importantly, this conception of composition departs from the term’s meaning in “new music” institutions—and, moreover, requires a break with sound (art) and absolute music. Such a break is conceivable only by acknowledging the historical finitude of absolute music. Indeed, despite its widespread acceptance, absolute music is to be understood as ahistorical specific concept: it has a determinate beginning, and, as German musicologist Carl Dahlhaus insisted, “What has come about historically can also be changed again.” Such a change could represent a radical shift in musical thinking and practice. Music could become untethered from sound as an autonomous medium, left, at an extreme, without sound […]Sound could be deprioritized in favor of the wider methodological scope necessary to formulate music as a critical art practice. No longer adherent to the primacy of sound, this “music beyond sound” could finally become a music after sound“ (Berrett, 2016, p. 6).

     To summarize: though I am reluctant to talk of a substantial donation to western art music practice and theory, I believe to have identified something of an overlooked possibility in the movements of human bodies, and their consequential sounds, in my endeavor to escape the saxophone. Trying to investigate that musically has had consequences on my score notation, borrowing methods of notation from the field of choreography. I believe to have—at least for myself—challenged certain western art music conventions and ended up with a somewhat coherent material that is not dependent on an instrument or sounding object. But instead, in line with other contemporary theoretical positions and historical accounts, I have tried to open music up for possibilities in reasoning and langue, and—inherent in our very existence—in our bodies. Starting out at the composition Ng I have through artistic practice and reasoning moved towards a consolidation of my methods in Ng revisited.

Ng revisited (2018)