Experimental music notation resources



One-Page Sore Workshop and Performances:



IRCAM symposium about new notations



I didn’t read the whole thread, but scanning the last few dozen reminded me, didn’t Christian Wolff get up to some funny business with his scores too?

Also, not sure if it was mentioned, but Charles Ives would sometimes employ odd instructions, although I think his notation was mostly pretty conventional.


andre vida’s animated scores are pretty cool

Live show visuals

when i was a kid i loved looking through all the graphic and text scores in Source. really recommend checking them out if you have access to a music school library; they are sadly hard to find otherwise and are way overdue for a reissue.

and… at the risk of being a total buzzkill, i feel obliged to point out that not everyone is cool with their scores being freely duplicated on the internet, and permission shouldn’t be assumed. christian wolff for example is thankfully still with us, still working and publishing scores through edition peters.

that said… here’s a complete graphic score that i love by martin bartlett. (who i don’t think would have minded…)


Point taken, but in this context ‘permission’ isn’t theirs to grant, as given the nature of this thread (single isolated pages/images), you’d be hard pressed to find a better example of fair use.

(this ventures far off topic for this post, but free sharing is the legal standard/norm/baseline, with copyright/restriction being the singular, temporary, and legally specific exception to that, regardless of what the author’s intents/desires are)

Billone - Mani Giacometti:


It’s not notation-related, but I wonder if anyone here’s a fan of Butch Morris as well.


Thank you for your comment.
I guess I will say that my own angle here was that:

a/ everything i have collected over the years, in terms of the graphic score examples, was collected from the internet. So every single image here, has already been present/available on the web. And my intention was to create a single source repository, people interested in this sort of material can find it in one place.

b/ every example posted is properly credited. I still have some lovely examples, which I was unable to credit, and therefore did not post, so as to observe this rule.

c/ if anyone ever objected to any of these examples being included here, I will gladly remove them instantly. But that has not happend to date, and I am unaware of any objections or complaints.

Finally, my intention for compiling all these amazing artifacts comes from my deep respect and love for this work. The evidence of uncontainable artistry, vision and imagination. And I hope that this spirit of humble respectfulness is somehow present here.


@Rodrigo and @laborcamp

i apologize! didn’t mean to derail the thread, call anyone out, start a debate, &c. i have no horse in the race and of course the intentions are clear and admirable. it just occurred to me that the ethics of duplication should at least be considered for a moment, especially for living/working composers, and that might not occur to everyone.

fwiw, i see a couple of copyrights up there. for example there is a certain graphic of a certain piece (post-'77) by a certain famously protective composer whose name starts with Z… and actually i do think it’s worth considering the author’s desires not just from a legal standpoint.

you’re right, it would be hard call any of this “competitive use,” but not hard to imagine someone getting carried away. e.g., the site with the complete scan of treatise is pushing it… from a commercial perspective, which i don’t happen to share btw. cardew’s own repudiation of the work in Stockhausen Serves Imperialism (pdf) is, i dunno, pretty essential reading IMO, and as it happens i share a lot of the reservations w/r/t poetics of the score, with or without the marxist framework.
(ok, done now, promise)


Indeed, Cardew’s “turn around” regarding his own work is one of my favourite aspects of this particular bit of music history. It’s a testament to the aliveness of work, mutability of ideas, and the need for our own ability to be self-critical. Which is often hard when a social, political context is integral to the work.

And funny you should mention, that a complete scan of “Treatise” would be pushing it. I totally agree! I have been picking up the bits and pieces, individual pages from various corners of the internet, hoping to see it all some day… and then one day, someone presented me with the gift of the actual complete printed score of this beautiful piece. So I faced this dillema: should i scan it, and post here the pages that were missing from my web harvesting? I decided not to do it. As per my earlier rationale.


another one by roland kayn : galaxis


Thank you very much for posting all of these! This is a topic that I’ve been studying for decades, and it’s wonderful to see so many of these collected in one place. This is my first post, so I’m restricted from posting images, but perhaps someday I can provide examples from my own collection.

There are some very interesting examples in die Reihe, of which I have several volumes in English translation. Further, some of the albums by early experimenters in popular electronic music contain partial scores as part of the album art.

Does anyone know offhand if there is printed notation for the piece Bohor I by Xenakis? I would be very curious to see it, having looked at some of the notation he did in this thread.


Here are a few from my one of my personal heroes, Anthony Braxton:


Extract from a 10 pages booklet, tribute to Miles Davis for the 50th anniversary of his album Kind of Blue in 2009. It shows a personal interpretation of each bar of the track So What, translated into color gradients. Each line is a bar, some anacrouses are voluntarily integrated to the bar, no special code can explain color choice, but dynamics and singular rhythm events are depicted. Author: Raphaël Bastide. Source

Another project, not really music notation but graphic interpretation / interaction:

Manually controlled instrument created to improvise graphics with improvised music, a free jazz band or dancers – This project tries is to conceive graphic spontaneous creation as a musical instrument interacting with others. Source


Just had a great experience following along with So What, thanks for sharing that


Wow I’m really glad I found this post. Great stuff!!


Peter Vogel speaks of creating a score for one of his pieces in this video (21:48).

It seems like there’s this sort of underlying tension that might exist between an artist and the exhibitor. Some of the work in this thread has a slight undertone of artistic defiance.

On the topic of interpreting experimental music scores, I think it would be really interesting to pick the brains of the members of Sonic Youth about their experiences creating SYR4: Goodbye 20th Century. That album contains pieces from several of the composers that have been mentioned in this thread.

(first post)


thank you very much for sharing this video. i didn’t know peter vogel’s work. i find it very beautiful, and deep too. (i’m sorry i’ve missed it from the mechanical sound sculpture thread.)

what do you mean ? or : could you elaborate about this ?


I meant that, to me, it feels like some of these scores are intentionally difficult or impossible to understand/interpret. As if to say that even though you may hold in your hand a blueprint for this particular piece of art, you will never actually be able to recreate it. At best you would be producing a piece that is as close as you can get to the original but is actually an entirely new piece of work. Which I guess is really interesting in and of itself.

A copy of a copy of a…