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The score and accompanying directions for a piece by Charles Amirkhanian indicate far less attempt at control and require participation by the players in forming the music. What happens has been started and energized by the composer, but the actual music derives from the players themselves.
"Serenade II Janice Wentworth" was scored and performed, 1967-1968, by Ted Greer and Charles Amirkhanian. The scores indicate how the new music has influenced the scoring technique, and the score itself has responded to the requirements of the music as an open environmental event. Charles Amirkhanian comments on his method as follows:
This drawing is a score meant to be "performed" or "executed." However, as is not the case with most notational systems, the performer or performers are not presented with a specific set of code keys for interpreting the notations of each score. Rather he must approach any one score with a set of attitudes in mind, the components of which I shall now outline.
There is no single way to perform any one of my scores. Each one of them is simply a matrix containing performance stimuli. What we are dealing with, then, is a finished drawing -- in itself a "work of art" -- which in turn will serve as the stimulus for another work of art, i.e., a performance of music or a play, the making of a painting or a sculpture, the presentations of a series of events, ad infinitum -- or preferably, any combination of the foregoing. Contained in each matrix are various visual images. It is from these images that the artist will derive the individual actions which will constitute a performance.
The composer has developed various major areas in the score. Within each area is a series of images which is intended to evoke responses. The six images shown could affect various artists, for example, in the following ways:
A. As played by a concert musician, specifically a percussionist. (1) strikes gong; (2) plays record of music from Russian Orthodox Mass on portable phonograph; (3) scratches butt end of xylophone sticks jerkily across tympanums head; (4) plays about fifteen notes on xylophone in middle and high registers; (5) utters the word "due" while raising hammer, and "doe" while smashing a walnut; (6) utters "or..." and proceeds to exit by means of the nearest visible door.
B. As performed by a painter as a performance piece, or a finished product, or both. (1) throws ten darts at the blank canvas, puncturing it; (2) squeezes a full tube of white paint onto the surface of the canvas; (3) brushes on ink delicately; (4) paints several of the dart holes a bright red; (5) paints an apple on the canvas -- there is a large nail in the apple -- the apple is bleeding; (6) wires an oar to the canvas -- under the oar is painted the word "door."
C. As realized by a theatrical director, dramatist, or actor. (1) The curtain rises; onstage is an enormous plastic eyeball, fifteen feet in diameter, staring straight ahead. (2) A man walks onstage in front of the eye, stops, spreads his legs, raises his hands above his head, and places his palms together. (3) Fifteen seconds later he lowers his arms and shuffles his feet as if attempting to tap dance. (4) He stomps his right foot repeatedly and at various volume levels in mock frustration. (5) He pulls a hammer from his pocket and marches, with his back to the audience, right back to the eye. He knocks once very sharply with the hammer on the pupil of the eye. (6) A door opens in the pupil and he climbs in. The door slams behind him. The curtain falls.
...Scores of this nature do not limit themselves to performance only by artists with formidable technical resources; anyone may participate. The only requirement is a willingness to approach a series of nonverbal images with the intent to "read" them with a fluency somewhat akin to our present facility with verbal images. In this regard, here is a new path for introducing art disciplines to "non-artists."
The person approaching the score in order to make a painting, for instance, is not taught that only those who can paint recognizable figures, such as torsi and geraniums, can possibly be visual artists. Rather, he is encouraged to paint his responses, since there can be on one "correct" series of responses. He is encouraged further by the sense of purpose which results from adhering to a score.
Charles Amirkhanian, KPFA Folio
Typed by Cheryl Vega 7-29-95