Four Approaches to Graphic Notation of Quadrophonic Electroacoustic Music and Extended Vocal Techniques

Sophie Rose



This paper discusses the technologies and four notation approaches used to score a series of four works (Barren, Ferns, Smother, and Chaos) using extended vocal and percussion techniques for Vowels in Retrograde (Rose, 2019). The challenges I was faced with were notating for extended vocal techniques, spatial music, and for players who could not read traditional Western notation. Scoring techniques were chosen according to perceived relevance to the piece. The technologies used were either low-cost or open source, such as Decibel ScorePlayer, iPad, Inkscape, AutoStitch, and assorted physical media and consequent digitising means. The result was a 55-minute suite of new works for extended vocal techniques, percussion, cello, koauau, and electronics. Scoring techniques were derived from a mixture of existing approaches, including text-based (Harlow, 2019; Oliveros, 2013), artwork or image-based (Steiner, 2004), ancient music scoring methods (Daves, 1952; Hickmann, 1956), shapes to indicate breath, sounds, or pitches (Schieve, 1984; Wishart, 1996, 2012), and mixtures of traditional and graphic notation (Christou, 1968; Crumb, 1971).

Keywords: spatial music; extended vocal techniques; graphic notation;


Sophie Rose is a doctoral student at the University of Melbourne and contemporary vocals lecturer at Australian Institute of Music. She is a singer, extended vocal technique enthusiast, composer, improviser, performer, and maker. She explores the relationship between creative practice, interactive technology, and embodiment in her work. She performs and collaborates regularly with Cloud Unknowing, Brigid Burke, and surrealist music collective Little Songs of the Mutilated.