Visual representation has been early an important dimension for the musical phenomenon (memory, transmission) as well as a powerful tool for thoughts, idea formalization in the composition process. Moreover, toward the sonic complexity, abstraction is more like the way we think music.
A system for visual representation of sonic material is leading to a reflexion on its use, on the choices the composer has to face with, by facilitating manipulation and production of consistent musical structures. Since, how to represent sonic objects ? Schemes ? Motives ? How to cut in the sound variables ? How to organize a typology leading to a set of figures, graphic objects, respecting the sonic phenomenon and that doesn't limit the creativity of composers ? On which media would this system have more sense ? How to engage the user (composer) in this elaboration ? What are the uses, the needs ?
Last december (2012) I've made a first proposal : a set of cards standing for the different sonic elements (objects, effects, melodic, harmonic or rhythmic elements) that the user can manipulate to produce a graphical score.
There's no way for now to ear the result immediatly, just the score. But I ( or another musician or "producer" ) can interpret the score to ear the sound out of it. The scores, made by the players, are photographed and form a first collection of structures, made with this tool. Far from being perfect, this "beta version" allows me to test and adjust the system, the typology, to think further maybe to some digital implementation (on the computer, ipad, connected objects…)
choose a "Tempo" card
choose a "Rhythmic Signature" card
choose a "Mode" card
choose a "Scale"
choose an "Instrument Family"
— Melodic Motive
Choose the drawing card corresponding to the chosen Mode
chromatic circle : 12 peaks, diatonic circle : 7 peaks, heptatonic : 5 peaks
Draw a motive of your choice. The tonic is located on the top peak, and then, you don't have to know what notes are in the scale. The user draws the melodic path, ordering the notes in the little boxes around the figure. He can put silences or breaks by writing the number in the "silence box" at the bottom of the card, and then continue his path with following number.
As many "Notes" cards as necessary are aligned next to the drawing card, and then the user can specify the dynamic and duration on each note. He can chose a "Chord" card under the note of his choice.
Once the basic motive completed, he can choose some "Transformation" cards, that are going to apply on the motive in order to extend it by little variations.
• impossible to listen the sound of the cards (to improve that, I have written a small program that allows to listen the Scales and Chords before choosing them)
• The figure / drawing card has to be adapted with the rhythmic signature : it influences the duration of a measure, of a beat, of the motive
• This deck of cards is only inspired from traditional western theory.
• Not enough precision in the choice of the sound ( instrument / sonic object).
• Not enough liberty in the harmony choices. Maybe add some "intervals" cards ?