Drawing on Paper,
from Mind to Voice

A translucent score
as a membrane domain

The original ‘membrane’ score for the composition SETZUNG 1.1 is handwritten: using black and red pencils and a single, large sheet of white paper (210 x 110 cm), working from a number of sketches and preliminary versions, I merged drawing and handwriting into one extended process of notation (see example 1 for a scan of the original score, and examples 7a - 7d for enclosed notes to the performer in German). For the performance, a 1:1 print is hung as a banner of translucent paper; the performer takes her position behind it. The score-membrane enables an effect of visual highlighting: touching the translucent score, parts of the performer’s body temporarily come into clear focus, creating a kind of ‘zoom’ effect (see example 2).

Example 2: The performer’s hands touch the membrane; this position corresponds to the beginning of the fourth system of the score
(photo by Pia Palme).

The performer’s movements, the resulting noises and the fragmented visibility of her body are integral aspects of the composition. I direct and choreograph vocality, in order to block, deconstruct and distort the conventional visual element of female voice performance (see examples 3 and 8). Instead, the score is visible throughout the piece and dominates the scene.1 Conventionally, sheet music on music stands is hidden from the audience’s view, while the performer’s visibility is granted; this placement creates a certain mystique around notation as a code for insiders. In my installation I turn the setting around, to deconstruct the performer’s habitual role, and to gain space for more playfulness in score design. In the face of an increasing mechanisation and uniformity of notation, in music software design and the music (publishing) business, crafting a huge score by handwriting is a personal act of defiance against commercially set standards.

1Because of the translucent print the score appears in an inverted view to the audience.