Experimental music notation resources



The very first image in this thread was from Cornelius Cardew’s epic “Treatise”: a score consisting of 193 pages of beautiful compositions. The one at the top of the thread is from page 183. Later I also posted pages 29, 134 and two other images, which I am not certain of page numbers. I only have 25 images from the set, and continue searching for more. I would love to have a book with the whole score, but have never found one (if you have recommendation for a book that has the complete set in it, please let me know).

I think “Treatise” score is really among the most amazing examples of experimental music notation, and even though (or maybe even because) Cardew eventually “disowned” it, I find it inspiring and historically important.

So, I will continue adding pages from “Treatise” here, as we continue expanding the collection. Here are a few more. Pages 131, 133, and 137:


Two song scores by John Cage:


Few more scores from Toshi Ichiyanagi, including some written instructions for interpretation:


Another Arvo Pärt:


Daria Semegen:


William Engelen:


Another Włodzimierz Kotoński:
“Etude for a single cymbal strike”


More of Krzysztof Penderecki:

  • a recording of the “Threnody” (first page of the score above) where you can follow the visual score and hear the performance:


The Score of Poéme Électronique (1958)

…I decided to call my music “organized sound” and myself, not a musician, but a “worker in rhythms, frequencies and intensities.” Indeed, to stubbornly conditioned ears, anything new in music has always been called noise. But after all what is music but organized noises? And a composer, like all artists, is an organizer of disparate elements. Subjectively, noise is any sound one doesn’t like. - Edgard Varèse


This was presented at the World’s Fair in 1958.


Conlon Nancarrow’s hand-punched player piano rolls are direct instructions for performance (as direct as there can be), but are beautiful artifacts in their own right.

I wish I could post an image, but apparently a new user can’t.


You are absolutely right @pgchamberlin !
Thank you for the suggestion! Here are a few of Conlon Nancarrow’s rolls (hopefully you can add to this when you can post images!):


Wonderful, thank you @laborcamp


Christian Wolff:


i used to have the score for “I like to Think of Harriet Tubman”.

while Mr. Wolff uses mostly common stave notation and symbols for the open instrumentation (two players and female narrator), he notates the rhythm of one player according to syllabic cadences of the Susan Griffin poem which i feel is really special. i highly recommend getting a copy if you can and listening.

also the poem is incredible and still extremely relevant.


Hello, I just discovered this thread, it is simply amazing and greatly needed, thank you for posting all of this work! I just wish I had seen it six months ago.

I wanted to share a dingbat font I did inspired by the Labanotation dancing language. Here is the link so you can download it if you like it (it’s free :smile:)
Sorry about not uploading the file or images of Labanotation, I’m new in this blog and don’t have any permissions yet.

I wanted to share [my thesis] 3 which is a typeface & software that draws heavily on all this musical notations and it is designed to draw. I would love feedback, help or collaborations if anyone is interested.

Again, thank you for posting all this amazing stuff!


@Inigo_Lopez_Vazquez thank you for sharing your work! It looks very interesting, and one certainly can see the connection with the visual language of so many of the scores posted here!


Franco Donatoni:


Kathleen St. John:


Daniele Lombardi: