Sculptural sheet music

Sheet Music (2013) image by Jobina Tinnemans, Cambridge University Press Tempo Magazine, June 2021

Sculptural sheet music is a strand in my work that explores what is ’sheet music’, as well as what is a ‘page’ and what is ‘turning‘.

These pieces cross-pollinate composition with design teasing the concert etiquette of managing sheet music: we see the pages of the score being turned yet we don’t want to hear them; we annotate a page, but not fold it. My sculptural sheet music compositions integrate the universe of sonic possibilities I have experienced in electronic music into a much older format, characters printed on paper, a medium that has lasted for centuries.

Page Turners

The Page Turner works have been conceived after a stealthy smartphone recording I made in the London Underground during rush hour, in 2012. In this recording you can hear how no one speaks a word however much sardined in the carriage. All one can hear is the geometric cadence of the wheels and the rustling page turning of the free newspapers.

In my younger years I briefly studied fashion and seeing couture not as ‘making a garment’ but instead as ‘sculpting a single plane of material’ was an eye-opener. A shift of changing the sheets of fabric for paper opens up a world of possibilities.

The paper weight and quality are designed to generate a desired timbre and pitch of rustling. 

My page turner pieces are being performed by playing two parts simultaneously: instrument and page-turning.

Metro (2015)

for string sextet and page turning, part of a triptych of works.

Apartment House ensemble performing the Turner Piece triptych

Composed as interpretation of the rush hour smartphone recording I made in the London Underground in 2012.

Turner Piece (2015)

Turner Piece cover

for string sextet and page turning, part of a triptych of works.

As the title suggests, in this impressionist work I’ve reduced the few in-focus granular sound textures of wind, waves, leaves, to something as simple as the rustling of the paper on which the music is notated.

The triptych Turner Piece, Metro, Apartment House | Building Stories were commissioned by Sound And Music for the Apartment House ensemble and premiered in Café OTO, London, in 2015.

Page Turner Études Nº.1-3 (2017)

for piano solo and page turning.

Page Turner Étude Nº.1 performed by Eleonor Sandresky, Stony Point, NY

Each étude focuses on a different aspect of page turning as a sound source.

The first, and most abstract of the three études, reverses the role of instrument and medium. It’s an exercise in tonality of the rustling paper sheets. The second étude, Page Turner Étude Nº2. – U, focuses on performative, nearly dada-ist, aspects.

Page Turner Étude, p.22, Cambridge University Press Tempo Magazine, June 2021

The final Étude Nº.3 – Intertidal: Winged Kelp is an exercise in the narrative power of the page turner works.

Page Turner Études Nº.1-3 have been commissioned by Eleonor Sandresky.

Order Metro, Turner Piece, Page Turner Études Nº.1-3 at Donemus / email

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