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About Active Notation

Example parametric abstractions of a phrase from Continuum with Blues.

Active Notation is the collective name for a set of approaches that seek to 're-conceptualise' the nature of notation and the performers relationship with it: that musical notation no longer needs to be fixed upon the page, but can, with computer technology, be dynamically delivered to the performer in new ways. Central to this is the use of the laptop to replace the conventional music stand. This use of the computer as an integral element of composition makes these works for Active Notation successors to Nigel Morgan's previous compositions with interactive systems, such as ARRAY: Compass and Interactions. The following pages provide an outline of Nigel Morgan's pieces for Active Notation.
Continuum with Blues (for electric guitar) was the first experiment in using Active Notation to create a piece in which the entire final movement was not 'fixed', but could be re-ordered either by the player or computer. Furthermore, phrases in the piece may be shown with one or more parametric elements abstracted (for example, a melodic phrase may be shown with an absence of rhythmic information). Continuum with Blues was premiered by Alan Thomas in a collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and Plymouth University during the ICCMR seminar series in 2007. The event, which has been archived here, had Nigel Morgan's paper Re-Conceptualising Performance with 'Active' Notation presented in Plymouth with 'live' illustrations from a concert taking place on the MMU campus.

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Nigel Morgan, Prudential Buildings, 55 Westgate, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 1BW, United Kingdom Tel: 01924 383017 e-mail: tonalitysystems@mac.com

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