An Atomic Approach to Animated Music Notation

Ryan Ross Smith

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOtherpeer-review


    Since the turn of the century, and in particular the last 15
    years, 1
    the discourse surrounding dynamic scoring
    techniques and practices has increased dramatically,
    while leading to an increasingly disparate terminological
    melee. With an awareness of what implications may exist
    in the premature analysis and theorization of an emerging
    field of practice, the author argues that in order to further
    develop the discourse surrounding dynamic scoring
    techniques and practices, it may be useful to take a
    reductionist approach toward defining the various lowlevel
    elements of dynamic scoring, in the case of this
    paper those elements that feature prominently in
    Animated Music Notation [AMN]. By targeting a set of
    low-level elements, and isolating the actualized indicators
    of contact and intersection as the primary functional
    components of AMN, the author will propose a working
    definition of AMN supported by examples drawn
    primarily from the author’s work, 2
    and the descriptive
    language generally employed during the author’s
    compositional, rehearsal and performance experiences.
    To this end, this definition is not intended to entirely
    satisfy the broad range of dynamic scoring techniques
    that implement AMN, but to highlight prevalent
    methodologies, point toward the extension of existing
    taxonomies, and distinguish AMN as a notational
    methodology contained by the more general entity of the

    1 Due in large part to Contemporary Music Review, Vol. 29, No. 1,
    Organized Sound, Vol. 19, Special Issue 03, Leonardo Music Journal,
    Vol. 21, and It is also
    important to note that dynamic scoring practices can be traced back well
    into the 20th century, but given the scope of this paper cannot be covered
    in detail.
    2 The author here acknowledges the potential downside of an
    analysis that focuses largely on the author’s work, but contends that the
    concepts put forth are, while contextually-limited, available for
    expansion and generalization.
    dynamic score, a methodology meant to clarify two basic
    compositional parameters: what to do and when to do it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTENOR: The International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation and Representation
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • animated notation

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