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.

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

Panoramic Scores

development of IMAGIRO Landmannalaugar

My panoramic scores reimagine sheet music as a sculptural medium. These metres-wide performative graphic notations, inspired by immersive landscapes, are designed to be on a Christo-esque scale, running through the performance space, the performers moving to read their parts. The single line described by a path through a landscape is experienced differently each time it is traversed. In these works sounds drift in and out of earshot, and, like a country path, the score reads in both forwards and reverse, or to the East and West.

IMAGIRO Landmannalaugar

for four mobile instruments and 23 meter long panoramic score

IMAGIRO Landmannalugar (2017) performed by ensemble Synaesthesis in Vilnius, Lithuania

From a single movement, a single plane, harmonies unfold, like origami. In a same way a choreography unfolds as the performing musicians move through the space playing their parts.

Commissioned by DAR DAR Lithuania for ensemble Synaesthesis

rolling up 23 metres of paper score when a storm is brewing

I love the sheer physicality of making this work, such a change from moving my fingers on a laptop keyboard all day. It felt right to struggle with a heavy roll of paper larger than me and with brush strokes I needed to walk to finish, to trust my intuition and feel the music I had in my mind through my entire body.

testing out brush sizes and lines

Downs #1
Central (2018)

for mobile musicians, singers with tune pipes, footsteps, a choreographed ground plan and 48 metres panoramic score

A very stylised and choreographed production where each performer in turn reaches a timed segment within the score, setting the pace of the performance.

Caponier (2018)

for mobile instruments, singers, footsteps, free newspapers, a crowd, choreographed ground plan and 26 metres panoramic score

Inspired by the London underground rush hour, this piece was performed amongst a crowd, the audience, in the underground tunnel of Newhaven Fort.

Maria Marzaioli assisting in setting up Central at Fort Process Festival, Fort Newhaven. Photo Agata Urbaniak
Caponier performance in the underground tunnel of Fort Newhaven, photo Agata Urbaniak

IMAGIRO Landmannalugar (2017) performed by ensemble Synaesthesis in Vilnius, Lithuania
Snaefelsness #2

Commission a panoramic score – email

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