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Re-Complexifying the Function(s) of Notation in the Music of Brian Ferneyhough and the

"New Complexity"
Author(s): Stuart Paul Duncan
Source: Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 48, No. 1 (WINTER 2010), pp. 136-172
Published by: Perspectives of New Music
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23076411 .
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the

Re-Complexifying

of Notation
in the
Function(s)
Music of Brian Ferneyhough
and the "New Complexity"

Paul

Stuart

OF

ACTS
THE inherently
score:

It

of

"the

be
his

work."

performer's

that
for

experiences

is

the

score

performance

and

the

score,

to

listening

mediated

are

musical

between

becomes

the

a representation

mediates
for

music
the

by

mediates

composition

which

Likewise,

prior

that

complexity

said

ideas,

and

performing,

complex,

might
and

composer

COMPOSING,

Duncan

between

which

the

the

realization

becomes

an instantiation of "the work," while the instantiation's


reception is similarly filtered by the receiver's listening habits and
Where

expectations.
especially
music

in
referred

the
to

case
as

then

does

the

where

the

music

the

"New

of

complexity
is

Complexity"?

extremely
As

music

we

shall

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

reside,
such

complex
see,

several

as

the

Re-Complexifying

theorists

locate

claimed

is

by

reflects

the

one

Complexity
will

and

performance,

the

limits

By

the

the

performer

a very

the

restrictive

with

confused

to

wishing

does

not

problem.

In

fact,

view,

of

complexity

which

the

complication!is
not

satisfy

by
that

take

depiction

the

through

notes

scores'

This

unplayable.

into

consideration
to

the

any

be

great

art

also

the

but

feelings,

1990, 24).
with

synonymous

and

on

'black

of

became

its ephemeral

prevalent

complexitynot

and

Halbreich,

reducing

complication,

concrete

to

according

Complexity,

the

called

so

mind. As such, it has always existed (Halbreich

term

in

complexity

alone:

prerequisite

sense

the

only

the
the

listener.

states

means

score,

'complexifying'
and

of notation

generally

in

score

Therefore,

meant

Halbreich

density

one

today

complexity

the

is

listener.
seek,

and

reception.

interstices,

"What

and

composers

composer

and

score,

Harry
to

these

with

one-to

this

perfect

replete with millions of notes, preferably (almost)


is

relationship.

associated

performer

these

question

musicologist

the

the

performance

the

to

simply

relationships

one-to-one

complexity

composer,

complexity

both

between

encapsulates
to

response

music?"
view

and

between

relationships

It

compositional

simplify

in

attempting

of

expense

interstices

notation

resulting

with

that

argue
the

fact,

In

the

at

in

to

notation.

complexity

underlying

complex

resulting

indicted

are

resides

the

this simplifying lens, the composers

relationship

However,

notational

seeks

score

in

Complexity

the

the

argument
and

through

New

that

match

an

composer

Viewed

scholars
to

Such

between

of

complexity

need

processes.

New

the
these

I 37

of Notation

Function(s)

ambiguous
Several

page.

the
to

nature

a
to

responses

the question of complexity in music were published during 1993-95,


including collections of articles in Complexity in Musici, Perspectives of
New

and

Music,

acquaintance
entrenched

frustration

larger

these

composers

who

notational

fetishization,

world

that

question
It

is

the

of

notion
a

as

that

the

through

around

us.

which
Should

such

However,

world

is

our

an

has

fed

the

approach

did

so,

are
music

as

are

not

as

of
called

receiving
reflect

also

our

fragments

the

endless

into

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of the
informa

the

perceptive

the

Those

complexity
was

an

into

Kaija Saariaho:

complex,
we

of

brief

how

see

processes.

complexity

reflection

just

to

scores

dense
compositional

by the Finnish composer


true

From

possible

underlying
but

us.

is

notationally

embraced

surrounds

mechanisms
reality

with

Review.

it

journals

involving

argument

Music

Contemporary

with

I 38

of New

Perspectives

tion
ing

1990,

world?

The

should

latter

it reflect

seems

to

our

me

personal

more

should

implies that although


seek

interesting

Much

to

filter

this

the world is undeniably


in

complexity

of the discussion
from

Brian

the

order

to

shifts

It

in

in

the

seems

art

complex,

the

reflect

composer's

present

between

also

not

about

bouts

how

to

music

the

to

performer,

Roger

Smalley,

Three Pieces for Piano


and

crossing

that

it is frequently

of

1972,

(Smalley
every

the

becomes

1222).

insights,

but

context

single

incorporating

in

2003,

373).

"world."
derives

In
not

believesit
successful

However,
of paths

other

the

the

Smalley
as

the
to

density

realize

accurately

understandably
presented.
the

approaches

if the

score

music

instead

of the
of

concept

of

Ferneyhough's

of

the

system

the

dialogues

between

and

performance

and

Ferneyhough's
existence

to

the

transmits

listenerbut

composer

and

the

rather
score,

from

Smalley

upon

prebuilt

a coalescence
and

the

music
as

score,

composer's

score

a map,

is not that the litany of performative instructions,


transparently

score

presented

presents

performer,
Saariaho's

complexity

informational

to

tangle

meaningfully"

information

Ferneyhough's
filter

contrapuntal

and

endless

in which

Ferneyhough's

them

score

notation

musical

words,

from

dense

attempts
the

almost

complex

a variety

compositional

rejects

in

remarks,

traverse.

completion,

the

the

the

the

that "the interweaving

articulate

valiantly

strand

the

becomes

composer,

to

within

realize

to

path

such

of Ferneyhough's

to

trying

produces

It is
more

immersed

performed

concluded

impossible
Smalley

woven

entangled

the

parts
quite

complexly

having

(1966-67),

easily

of breathing
world!

complex ambiguity of the art object (Ferneyhough


One

quickly.
be

outside

when

insights

and
"endless

rather
art

a sort

privileged

own

intricately

changes,

move

as providing

offering

one's

of

position:

our

with

music

Saariaho's
his

expect

of confrontation

create

replete

surely

to

the

with

dynamic

defends

world

day

about

directly

on

reflected

register

see

the early 1990s

scores,

anomalous
I don't

during
focused

abrupt

Ferneyhough

rather

understandable;
space

pitch

However,

Things

particular

strands,

rhythmic

information."

complexity
in

Ferneyhough's

nested

spectacular

on
and

1960s,

Ferneyhough.

woven

by

(Saariaho

views.

stemmed

In

of filter

way

34).

Saariaho
own

or

us,

surrounding
the

Music

of

performance,

reception.

critical approach
of

transparent

to the function of notation,


relationship

between

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which

composer,

the

Re-Complexifying

score,

and

performer,
at

composers

Ferienkurse

Richard

(including

composers

reached

listener,

Darmstadt's

wider

audience

during

the

Aaron

Barrett,

139

of Notation

Function(s)

of

younger
These

1980s.
Frank

Cassidy,

Cox,

James Dillon, James Erber, Michael


Clarke, Chris Dench,
Klaus
Claus-Steffen
Hbler,
Mahnkopf, and Roger Redgate)
Finnissy,
James
each

to

responded
even

way,

unique

or

could,

should,

confuse,

sharing
Erik

represent.
on

even

a collective

the

most

distrust
insists

Ulman

desultory

in

aesthetic

underlying

Ferneyhough's

while

for

that

"one

own

notation

could
the

acquaintance,

his

what

hardly

sonic

and

Michael
of, for example, Brian Ferneyhough,
and
Richard
Barrett"
1994, 202);
Dench,
(Ulman

worlds

philosophical
Finnissy, Chris
the

however,
amalgamated

The
the

the

term arose

article

"Four

works

become,

of

individuality
under

epithet

of 'The

of Finnissy,

to

Contrary

been

the

popular

first to

use

and

term.

who

Barrett,

he

According

he

Finnissy

in

suggests

1978

with

called

'New

that

that

Christopher
better

like

in

Toop,

or

Fox's
as

23).
traditions

to

have

it from

heard

regarding Nigel
However,
of it in

conceived

account

seemingly
were

composers
the

of

representatives

the

following

1998,

not

had

these

1993,

(or

subjects

1980.2

had

worse,

Halbreich

(Fox

circa

Halbreich

"For

Complexity'"

unfortunate

music

75).

critics

by

his

interview

Finnissy's:

labeled

regularly

an

2002,

(Finnissy

concurs

on

talk

pre-concert

have

(Toop

claims

Toop
to Toop

examines

claims

corporate

Roger Wright, who had in turn heard it from Dillon


Osbourne's

he

New Complexity'"

however,

1988

Toop's

in which

"the

'The

opinion,

the

Richard

Complexity,'"

Ferneyhough,

victims) of a new catch-phrase


4).

Complexity."1

Dench,

Brian

was

responses

composers'

musicologist

New

Dillon,

with

these

of

"New

in Australian

Facets

along

each

Retrospectively,
of naming

so

it is

schools,

did not continue his original plan:


My

title

original

obvious
enthusiasm
Welsh,

was

Ivesian
for that
and

at

"Four

the

But

composer.
time

Faces

in

reflected

reference

since

of publication

the

New

Dillon
Dench

England"the
and

Dench's

Finnissy's
Barrett

is a Scot,
was

about

to

is

move

to Italy, this title was ditched and the "New Complexity" was
dredged up as an expedient titular substitute (Toop 2002, 133).
Similar to Halbreich's
as

synonymous

street

parlance

is emphasized
more

notes.

...

description of the current view of complexity

notational

with
'a

lotta

density,

notes'"

(Truax

New
1994,

The

176).

"in

became,

Complexity

same

point

by the critic Julian Silverman: "They all write notes. And


More

than

can

be

played:

more

than

can

be

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imagined"

of New

Perspectives

1996,

(Silverman
view

that

the

Complexity
saturated
same

of

not

the

eliminating

This prevalent attitude led many critics to the

34).

scores

are

those

just

steps

role

Complexity'

fell

under

but

to

that

stating

from

the

and
Ivan

"A

1980s

the

banner

unnecessarily

interpret

information.

Silverman,
music

who

complex,

performer's

in incomprehensible
as

Music

the

Hewett

good

and

1990s

New

complicated,

leaving

deal

of

listener
in the

follows

of

so-called

forces

the

'New

performer

along this via dolorosa of struggle and inevitable failure, and it's hard
not

to

that

suspect

the

extra

of

frisson

pieces isn't due to their latent sadism"


Richard

critic,
alone,

that

concluding

notational

reduces

Taruskin,

to

2003,

was

examined

Having
the

page,

these

critics

were

from

an

exclusively

New

expression
. . The

tige.

modern
and

New

with

women?)

observes

is

of

quick

intellectual

Complexity

charge

that

Ferneyhough's
with

Coupled
and

his

Darmstadt.

The

some

the

modernist

been

Darmstadt

Ross

Darmstadt

is

impulse
the

testing

outer

to

a large
to

during

the

means

of what

are

by

Ferneyhough

For

Brian

the

even
and

of

charge

and

though

'60s
it has

'60s,
some

years

play

and

the
has

Ferncyhough

can

a view

standards.

of 1950s

that,

players

who

extent,

with

1950s

dead.

(and

and

1980s,

practices

composer

pres

men

modernist

indicted

argues

an

and

36-37).

a return

of the

no

by

limits

1990,

were

American-based

British-born,

Paul

as

polyphony

self-image

is fueled,

Alex

the

elitism.

speculation
are
mosdy

intellectual

the integral-serialist

journalist

of
drew

composers

of

composers

Complexicists

since

years

rear-guard

"blackness"

philosophical

philosophical

presented
at

tenure

New

resurrected

having
been

his

fellow

the

that

manifestation

elitism

music

that

a strong

of intellectual

of

light

extremely proud of their brain (Thermos


This

in

fostered

476).

conclude

and

Complexity

at least

in

solely
to

intellectual

for example,

Thermos,

scores

complexity
it

obviously

action to inspire much interest" (Taruskin 2010,

Another

140).

progress

too

these

by

its notational

evident

movement

possessed

(Hewett

score

the

"despite
the

technology

the

intensity

listeners

can hear, and he has become the somewhat unwilling figurehead


for a movement known as the New Complexity (Ross 2007, 522).
The

view that New

serialist

could

practices,

only

be

Complexity

that

scores

produced

with

was fueled by a return to integral


such

by someone

large

swaths

employing

of

black

notes

systematized

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the

Re-Complexifying

dominated

approach,

articles

on

this

music

1990s.
James

in

Boros,

his

of Perspectives

issue

this

against

all

too

Complexity

grew

"composers

and

surrounding

this

as

Boros

reaction

myopically

that

the

isolationist

...

systematics

like

the

of these

in

the

of

New
with

simplicity,"
over

the

fence

shit

is not

shovelling

of Darmstadt,

generations
musical

cookbooks,

construction

place

argue

the

himself and his fellow

Distancing
serialist

journal

Boros

peeked

"authors

early

to

sought
to

that

and

a special

"new

having

7).

with

preoccupied

for

1980s

Complexity,

previous

those

editor

determined

1993,

from

the

According

who,
have

during

guest
New

against

performers

continues

on

attitude.

dungheap,

music

the

Music

prevalent

to be their fate" (Boros


composers'

as

position

of New

14 i

of Notation

Function(s)

a stab

taking

[are]

of their inevitably
at

the

real

thing,

our

is nonalgorithmic,
and
which
defies
which,
selves,
Boros
the
systematization"
(Ibid.).
argued
following year equally
against both the "new simplicity" and those who hold dogmatically
outdated

onto

blasts

serialist

inherited

away

in favor

principles

of a music

whether

construals,

that

be

they

Pavlovian

tablatures (or high-powered


pumps) for playing upon (milking
the
of affections) or dusty placards
udder
dry)
heart-strings (the
advertising
plays

flotsam

ship '12x12'
In

other

blackness
As

beyond

the

and
strong

at

can

distance

rejection

dis

dreary

hulk

rotting

not

an

of

not

from

a reaction

only

the

good

The

the

of

that

approach
of

complexity

means

a new

against

serialist

integral

domain.

Boros's

that

New

Com
nor

construction,

seen

to

distance

in

Gavin

"New

demonstrate,
those
who

complexity,

pains

be

views

responses

notational

are

music,

within

the

page.

Taruskin's
such

found

the

was
of

musical

derives

of the

evokes

every

therefore

plexity

be

from

Complexity

also

control

to

forth

1994, 96).

New

but

to

belched

(Boros

words,

simplicity,
seeks

coherence'

'satisfying

of

the

critics
are

are

to

find

able

from

composer

Thomas's

CD

Complexity"

who

more

the
of

review

to

able

look

in

term.

the
This

a collection

of

Dillon's

early works. He complains that "the Ferneyhough-inspired


New Complexity is decadence personified, a fascinating but ultimately
movement

self-destructive
stands

from

apart

the

On

sum,
the

one

two

have

positions

hand

we

have

with

(Thomas

conveniently pigeon-holed"
In

In

...
school

formed

those

who

sense,

James

however,

which

he

has

been

term

New

Dillon

rather

too

1992, 466).
around
wish

the
to

group

together

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Complexity.
composers

of New

Perspectives

who

a complex

employ

of the

examination
have
as

those

who

much

as

Cowell

Henry

that

which

their

that

aesthetics

addresses

at all levels,
listening
music]

sinking

contain

represent
The
one

diverse
view

and

such

works
of

of New

range

however,
Complexity

complexity

specificity.

This

other

musical

polemical

and

"performable"
issue
71),

of

in performance
In

this

interpretation
transparent
examination

I will
of

often

single

from

relationship
of a variety

with

as
and

between
of notational

by

examining

Cox's

by a snippet
own

this

red

the

regarding
increase

in

a prioritizing
to

of exactitude.

this

overly-simplistic

score

leads
and

one

performers

contemporary

over

of

"The

guiding

the

what

is
fake

2003,
principle
an

interpretation:

realization.

strategies

in

a transparent

between

as the

New

composer's

(Ferneyhough

view

that

diversity,

of accuracy

response,

herring"

a
the

increase

the

create

boundary

of accuracy

from

works

of

complexity

Ferneyhough's
a

and

70).

realizationforming

notion

notation

often-cited
nature

problematizing

visual

supposed

really

a narrow

2002,

if attempting

the

the

to

[of
pre

already

Despite

an

and

domain

in

employed,

to

believe

Starting

in Ferneyhough's

will look at multiple ways in which the notation


continues

between
procedures

Ferneyhough's

viewpoint,

re-complexify

complex

of,

perhaps

Complexity

the

characterized

the

leads

entire

notational

representative.

interpret

is

the

(Cox

is

"unperformable."

away

paper

are

along

to temper

one

of

aware

New

categories

merely

synonymous

lies

2007,

(Ross
a complexity

serialist

particularly

within

Yet,

specificity

'unperformability'

requires

are

notation

lines

fault

new.

performative,

that

most

it,

considerations,

between

relationship

exactly

commonality
the

well-worn

approaches

assumed

New

awareness,

linked.

of mannerism

extracts

as

often

so

are

performers

notational

all

restrain

from

from

compositional,

those

scores.

scores

so

prevented,

into

Complexity

short

several

are

generic

be

notational

such

provides

put

term

consciously

It is this

we

that,

willfulness

Ferneyhough's

that

that

developments

mere

of

work.

they

into

descent

avoid

the

composers

the

lies

are

in their

composer

and

1917"

notation

different

concern

templates

that

charge

which

the

hand

is not

in

back

rhythm

Beyond

aesthetic

must

to

pared

Complexity

Complexity

Cox's

the

may

New

fundamentally

with

Frank

that

a superficial

other

and

composer

employed

is

independence

upon

the

of each

that

point.

underlying

works

and

New

is explicitly
an

forming

the

density.

"the

with

On

between

rhythm

misses

relationships

the

concludes

layered

he

But

523).

to assert

themselves

contenting

informational

possible

Ross

Complexity.

and

wish

space

notation,

scores'

Music

in

with
music,

a
an
I

functions. The paper


performance

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practice

the

Re-Complexifying

models

in

order

for

principle

to

both

evaluating

subscribing

to

Notational

Complexity

a New

to

According

and

situate,

143

as

accuracy

critique,

and

performance

the

guiding
of

composition

works

aesthetic.

Complexity

in the

Music

the

Taruskin,

of Notation

Function(s)

of Ferneyhough

composers

and

Ferneyhough

Finnissy

"formed the nucleus of a group identified with 'the New Complexity'"


The extract in Example 1 shows Taruskin's
(Taruskin 2010, 475).
of New

representation
of the

to

he

score,

of the

speak

because

Complexity;

into

of the

appearance

composers

effort

on

the

notational

is in

this

case

focusing

density

states:

finding

associated

with

notations

for

music
the

New

not

virtually

trivial,
much

put

Complexity

microtones,

impalpable

ever-changing rhythmic divisions and tiny gradations of timbre


and loudness in an effort to realize their ideal of infinite musical
evolution

under

precision,

with

the

tion

and

476).
with

Taruskin's

the

cello

ral

changes

by

other

absolutely
Taruskin's
parametric

the

asserts
no

those

scores

to

disagree
glissando
textu

abrupt

which

notes.
this

2010,

(Taruskin

through

grace

their

harmonic

staccatos),

"tiny

atten

that

it is hard

rising

dynamics,
the

"notational

"editorial

are

followed
with

Coupled
passage
of

gradations

supports
timbre

and

score.
a compelling

the

of

case
of

coherence

other

the

New

Second
to

extract
not

costs"

excerpt

of Ferneyhough's

concession

material,

in

makes
score,

at all

the

105,

accented

regarding

that

chosen

the

Boulezian

in the

concludes

transformations

and

changes

examination
and

m.

multiple

Taruskin

works,

Taruskin

In

non-harmonic

of

at

both
with

techniques"

diversify

glance

tremolos

employed

complexity

to

assessment.

complaint

Although

infinite

constraints'

'cognitive

employed

Taruskin

note,"

a cursory

dramatic

Taruskin's

broader

take

of

with

presented

to

Complexity
playing

single

undergoes

of

loudness"

every

(with

series

series

New

a "determination

If we

in

of

"'extended'

[to]

given

represented

and

concession

475-476).

composers

extremities"

control

no

absolutely

(Taruskin 2010,
Since

fine

infinitely

the

norm

Quartet

on

In

every

page.

the

was

upon

in
If we

first

written
In

constraints.'"
state

notational

falters

String Quartet,

Complexicists.

climactic

the

argument

Second

String

'cognitive

shows

on

based

his

fact,

the

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"with
though,

diversity

examine

his
case,

of

earlier

144

Perspectives

EXAMPLE
SECOND

1: TARUSKIN's
STRING

of New

EXCERPT

QUARTET

Music

FROM

(tARUSKIN

FERNEYHOUGh's
2010,

477).

Copyrightby HinrichsenEdition,PetersEditionLimited,London.
Reproducedby kindpermissionof PetersEditionLtd, London.

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the

Re-Complexifying

in

passages

the

we

work,

find

of Notation

Function(s)

a process

instead

of

gradual

parametric

diversifications.
In

mm.

unison

as

we

2a).

move

this

continues

as

the

Ferneyhough
central

chosen

Taruskin's

Taruskin's

his

supports

Taruskin's

to

referred
notational

as

earlier

passages,
of

example

work

does

not

that

the

Second

the

attend

to

step

Ferneyhough's

even

infinite

Time and Motion Study II (henceforth


an

demonstrates

T&MSII)

String
of

"ideal

it

though

was

even

level

higher
four

completed

years

of
prior

3).

T&MSII
the

the

for

are

added
the

excerpt,

each

the

performer

in

the

hand,

the

second
cellist

Quartet.

his

the

thumb

lower two strings (double


remaining

The

fingers.

beneath

the

pitched,

and

In

the

In

this

down)

top

the

without

bow.

The
on

a glissando

navigate
the

requires

upper

addition

strings
to

the

domains,

rhythmic

additional

the

while striking the cello with the

staff

the

hand

silently

minimum,

part;
congested.

from

(reading

rather

at

uses,
vocal

the

becomes

right

stopping)

on

hand.

right

to

fourth

material

pitched

her

or

for

gesture
staves

staves

multiple

Ferneyhough
a third

third

use

use

accommodate

required

and
to

to

alongside

when

must

has

cellist

staff

single

staff

both

the

implies

towards

However,

density,

(Example

require

narrative

another

musical evolution."

staves

the

unusually

developmental

representative

that

complaint

teleological

is yet

Quartet

one

to
a

an

of a complex

compared

embodies

grounding.

"not

being

from

a cognitive

constraints.

cognitive

In

part

of
Since

example.

divergences

offers
than

diverge

divergence

Taruskin's

parametric

rather

when
neither

passage
nor

work,

than

the

remain in
to

Ferneyhough

maximum
in

contrary

example,

Therefore,

sequence.

achieves

Quartet

String

is on

page,"

complicated

he

introduces

Second

parameter

begin

treatment.

dynamic

represented

gradually
the

idea,

in the

solely

several

39-41,

and

until

moment

differ

many of the parameters

mm.

textural

process

at

parameters

violins

Although

toward

2b)such

(Example

the

for example,

14-15,

of pitch (Example

left

and

hand

unpacking

perform
slaps"

the

pitched,

non

to

contend

with

has

performer

to

"percussive

frequent tempo changes and a variety of dynamic profiles.


In short, the level of notational detail used in T&MSII
appears to be
greater

than

instead

of
a

presents
head.

employed

Taruskin's

surpassed"

set

turning
conclusion

a benchmark

(Ibid.,

Second
Second

detail

notational

for its intricacy

let alone

the

devolution,

pseudo
"the

in

the

"evolution"

Nonetheless,

Complexity
not;

that
an

476)

was

String
String

Therefore,

Quartet

conversely

Taruskin's
that

is never

is problematic.

on

argument

in the

significant,
that

Quartet.

music

even

of the

if the

likely

Had

music
be

to

was

equaled,

he used

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its
New

the

146

of New

Perspectives

Music

ancorafurioso

(uguale)

EXAMPLE

2A:

BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH's

SECOND

STRING

MM. 14-15.

QUARTET

CopyrightbyHinrichsenEdition,PetersEditionLimited,London.
Reproducedbykindpermissionof PetersEditionLtd, London.

EXAMPLE

2B:

BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH'S

SECOND

STRING

MM. 39-41.

QUARTET

Copyrightby HinrichsenEdition,PetersEditionLimited,London.
Reproducedbykindpermissionof PetersEditionLtd, London.

from

example
evolution

of

would

surely

String

Quartet

focused

T&MSII

to

musical
have

had

the

to

greater

undermines

on

demonstrate

notation

New
point

that

argument

embodiment

of

no

the

complexity

apparent
his

return,
his

Instead,

impact.3

the

Complexity's

of

use

assertion

of the

Second

were

composers

only

notational

through

"evolution."
Rather
Taruskin's
typical

than

attempting

argument
of those

who

to

offers
hunt

look
a

for

beyond

blanket
the

least

the

notational

"nothing
unison-like

lines

complexities,
up"

passage

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response,
rather

than

the

Re-Complexifying

EXAMPLE

3: EXTRACT

FROM

FERNEYHOUGH's

FOR VOCALIZING

of Notation

Function(s)

147

TIME AND MOTION

CELLISTAND

STUDYII

ELECTRONICS.

Copyrightby HinrichsenEdition,PetersEditionLimited,London.
Reproducedbykindpermissionof PetersEditionLtd, London.

examining the entire score. Another musicologist, Arnold Whittall,


mirrors Taruskin's position in his Musical Composition in the Twentieth
He

Century.

Stellar

comments

that

1999,
musica

common

rhythmic

stability

in which

to organize

the

own

our
two

the

"reflect[s]

made

generalization
contextualize

Femeyhough's

kind

shown

offer

endless

in

[On

information,

examination

of

makes

Ferneyhough
multi-metric

material"

use

structures

that

are

the

of "various
and

an

that

rather

than

and the Second

encapsulation

of

Benedict

Weisser's

practice.

this

states

Weisser

pre-compositional

generations

transformations

compositional
in

"presented

aesthetic
us"

by

compositional

of

a respite

work.

T&MSII
to

credence

lent

Femeyhough's

the

common

view.

moments

allowing

surrounding

approaches

view

Such

process,
a

embody

information

different

scholars.

by

through

trajectory

works

endless

Quartet

String

of

the

listening

filtering it to reflect a personalized

that

of

"Stability

is rarely glimpsed in Ferneyhough,"


(Whittall
Magnitudes]
382), emphasizing a lack of rhythmic unisons in Ferneyhough's

unfiltered

ostensibly

of

manner"

(Weisser 1998, 7). This ostensibly unfiltered manner lies at the heart
of works referred to by the epithet of New Complexity. The diversity
of pieces
an
how
They

the

with

associated

evolutionary

composers

employ

the

choose
variety

New
of an

perspective
of

to

aesthetic

Complexity
ever

increasing

encapsulate

compositional

this

stems

complexity,
endless

approaches

not

from

but

from

information.
and

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notational

148

of New

Perspectives

that

systems
manifest

reflect

not

and

performance

Aaron

of complexities,
scores.

Two

aesthetic

of

notational

finger

The

encodes

the

and

fingerings

spacing

staff

top

for

of Memory,

which

indicates

etc.

pont.

through

and

different
the

requiring
number

at

position
these

56

as an

use

three

the
of

space

up

notation

are
see

can

second

three

of

staves

we

example,

from

and

piece.

The
with

open

of

from

and
the

keep
last

the

staff

seventh
The

string.
the

on

notes,

eighth

its

lines
in

fingerboard

resultant

simultaneous

on

how,

position

and

into

put

the

the

lowest

stave,

fret board

to

up

over

accelerating

the

finger

"reasonably

taking

spacing,

the

to

tight"

"very

over

tight"

m.

Taking

the

player

the

fourth

must
over
two

remaining

Concurrently,

under

place

is

complexity

action.

eighths to reach a slighdy higher sixth position.


change

as

awkward

player

down

far

directions.

as all

move
the

positions

tuning

the

while
as

should

the

staff

number

together,

fingerboard,

movement

second

extended

the

such

indicated

with

becoming

of

used

finger

The

fingers,

spacing,

that

the

the

entail

of

string

independent
the

pressure,

tightly

throughout
on

above

choreographic

apparent

composer

notes

positions

octave

respective

The

possible

point

the

entirely

performer's

three

staff).

the

fingers

the

constant

hand
the

keep

"widest

The

seven

the

how

of bowing position

the

(above

the

and

bow

between

space

(to

gradations

details

boxes

to

the

uncomfortable)."5
different

of

of

play

unconventional

square

performer

possible

physically

more

levels

entails

the

filled

variously

indicates

their

different

of complexity

type

on

to

of
will

indeterminate

motion

string

acts

an

produce

a different

employing

Crutch

to depress it, as well as traditional indications

from

in

demonstrates
can

Complexity

choreographically

position,

staves.4

New

approach,

4).

Example

sul

the

examples

emerges

Crutch of Memory (2004)

aesthetic

instrument,

as

in

also

further

that

that

complexities

but

domain,

of these

underlying

Cassidy's

different

hand

notational

the

approaches.

underlying

(see

spectrum

in

reception

an

demonstrate
notational

a wide

solely

Alus/e

two

6:5

of

eighths

the

moves

tuplet,

the

6:5,

and remains at this position for a further eighth, before rapidly moving
to "open natural hand position (3)" for the rest of the tuplet. The top
staff requires yet another subdivision of the measure, including a 9:8
tuplet

over

central

strings

position

and

While
control

at

The

fifths

of the
pressure

first

every

discretion
case.

four

this
aspect

of the

of

alongside
may
of

performer,

composer

the

instrument

has

measure
and
changes

seem
the
on
left

as

a second

various

the
of

changes

two
bow

in dynamics.

if the

is

composer

performance,
several

between

switching

applying

leaving
look

avenues

this
of

proves

to

attempting
to

nothing
not

exploration

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to

the

be

the

for

the

the

Re-Complexifying

the

performer,
usually

most
are

players

instrumenthardly
direction,
is

the

of

for

performer

to

on

criteria.

If

the

performer

with
his

through
Dream

Cassandra's

offers

Ferneyhough

viola

Cassidy

such

of

spacing,

allows

spectrum,

certain

pre

that

direction

path

Ferneyhough's
In

path

the

performer

slanted

as

for the

the
based

other.

the

one

composer

the

complexity,

presents

direction

but

through
the

suggesting

(1970)

the

downwards

end

path

choreographic-type

Son
no

type

in

performer's

finger

score,

string
one

of

the

cello,

each

presents

the

the

and

tune

they

the

under
and

of

opening

of Memory
defines

choices

take

far

area

(though
music,

complex

positions

violin,

how

Crutch

performance
might

the

choose

Cassidy's

where

Another

the

instrumentation

playing

fingerboard
At

pitch.

tunings

several

the

the

being
when

choice).

from

apart
domain

suggests

obvious

specialized,

of Notati'

Function(s)

this

piece
might

take:

The

material

times,
playable
pitches
ous

has

a literally
from
lying

subterfuges,

EXAMPLE

been

image.

'unplayable'
the

has

unplayable

outside

the

but

4: AARON

so

intentionally

has

range
been

CASSIDY's

The

not

been

boundary

flute,

left

undefined,

CRUTCH

or

the
to

by resorting

other,

OF MEMORY

at

present,

separating

defined

of the

to

equally

depending

MM.

55-57.

Reproducedbykindpermissionof the composer.

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obvi
for

its

150

of New

Perspectives

precise

location

former,

whose

on

The

notation

be

assumed.

its

own

here

does

not
every

forms

2003,

denote

the

per

a relativizing

'fil

5).
ideal

as

performance,

melodic

disjunctive

articulation

might

each

fragment,

with

and intricate rhythmic profile, is at times


Ferneyhough notes this in his preface to the piece: "The

owes

its

to

conception

and

problems

of the individual

endowment

5] (Ferneyhough

Traversing

impossible.
work

the specific abilities

interpretation

ter' [see Example

Music

certain

considerations

inherent

possibilities

in

out

arising

notation-realization

of

the

relation

ship," before adding, "some of the combinations of actions specified


are in any case either not literally realizable
(certain dynamic
groupings)

or

unfiltered

manner
as

performer
make

decisions

making

theses

the

parsing

surrounding

The

Cassidy,

In

the

realization

in

and

in

EXAMPLE

requires

the

performer

Ferneyhough's

this,

the

the
must

performer
to

piece,

The

choose

notation.

In

the

assumes

the

of

process

role

of the

encapsulation

a route

of

the

"endless

us."

of New

to

approaches

furthermore

problematize

results."6

composition
of the

inherent
the

unpredictable
of

light

Interpretation

differences
music,

partly

filter.

decisions,

"High-Modernist"

own

complex,
Ferneyhough's

possibilities

filter,

information

to
of

regarding

through

relativizing

lead

a relativizing

all

else

the

notation

between
nature

5: EXCERPT

CASSA NDR A 's DREAM

his

of

FROM

Complexity

within
works

notation.

and
The

Ferneyhough's
the

BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH's

SONG FOR SOLO

piece

generation

FLUTE.

CopyrightbyHinrichsenEdition,PetersEditionLimited,London.
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by
of

the

R.e-Complexifying

who

performers
and

School,
the

works

models.
Cox

as

he

defines

one

to

new

musics

of

music

more

model,

In

other

of

in

the

toward

describes

various

Rather

century.
several

than

generalized

discussion

is referred

to

which

Practice,"

motoric

neo-Classical

greater

textures
of

of

degree

whereas

style,

interwoven

combinations

modern

by

and

performance

complexly

new

manner

between

if the

notation

of all

musical
the

the

demanded

clearly

on:

the

and

Second
in

accuracy

all

72).

this

Cox,

by

works
held

"Notes

posits

current

'objective'

required

2002,

words,

employed

In

twentieth

was

more

chain"

projection"

Viennese

notation

of Performance

dissonant

School

domains (Cox

this

Second

Cox

Cox

Model

structurally-conceived

to

the

to our

pertinent

tuplets,

communicative

of

Music,"

of

the

integral-serialist

Complexicists.

nineteen-teens

demanded

According

function

performance

the

high-level

Viennese

the

I5 I

passage:

manner
from

same

performers,

most

of

with

Complex

a "High-Modernist
in this

music

the

works

terms

New

individual

The

by

to

in

responses
to

referring

the

the

Practice

performer

come
that

of

Performance

the

performed

had

assumed

1950s,

newer

had

who

of Notation

Function(s)

of performance

score,

is realized

accurately,
then

domains,

listener

an

comprehends
via

composer

the

listener.
to

leading

"ideal"
the

a "clear

required
and

performer,

Under

an

"audible
results.

perception
compositional

"accurate"

system

realization

of

the

per

former.
Within

the

bounds

is

interpreter

level

interpretational
mastered

the

less

Cox

notes,

On

accuracy.
this

soft

leeway.

leeway,

the
For

other

Cox,

the

begin

after

an

'ideal'

of

applying

a hard
compelling

with
the

presumably
an

realization
aspect

an

one

has

those
one

concerns

interpretational

as
properly

performance,

On

(Ibid.).

realizations,"

instead

most

"the

realization

realm"

allows

hand,

explains,
for

technical

adequate

realization

aims

role

performer's

Cox

. . . primarily
one

"responsible

some

performer

As

interpretational

over

precedence

of

the

model,

challenges:

demands

specifiable

this
reduced.

. . . should

technical

the

balancing
the

of

seemingly

of

hand,
to

take
the

allowing

absolute

standard

would

not

of this

hard

of

allow

for

approach

is its "testability" and monitoring of long-term technical improvement:


"either

one

'authoritative'

comes

close

performances

to

meeting
of

the

the

high

technical

classical-music

standards
world

or

of the
one

loses

all hope of being taken seriously" (Ibid.).


By applying the hard approach, performers "raised the standards of
both performative precision and responsible realization immensely, the

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of New

Perspectives

often

latter

treated

of the

expense

as

those

commends
than

rather

and

listener,

the

fostering

the

is not

sold

on

which

he

classes

of

a direct

the

marketing

performer's

as an

such

the

to

he

Rather,

sees

size

and
to

the

of

expense
financial

performer's

the

and/or

showmanship,

and

connections

sawy/political

performer

to

'loveliness'

the

factors.

score,

proportional

performer's

accuracy

stylistic

alternative

as

the
were

(Ibid.).

to

ideal."

"projective

therefore
of the

force

- or

between

mapping

is directly

(this

instrument,

his/her

resources),

as

factors,

tone

performer's

at

which

themselves

apply
intuitive

proficiency

illegitimate

Artistically

who

interpretive,

of technical

factors

stylistic

the ultimate goal of performance"

performers

preferring

he

However,

and

all

testable,

absolutely

intuitive,

in earlier periods considered


Cox

and

absolute

interpretative,

Music

power

(Ibid., 73).
of

those

who

favor

or

"absolutist

approach
maintain
precisely

The

an

regards
intended";

the

unequivocal
of

the
in

The

notation

that

past

he

defines

increasing

and

this

however,

instrumentation.

pass
The

first

notation

years,

allow

to

article

Smalley's

High

us

to

"Some
and
his

determine

to

approaches
in

is most
to

composer
of his

1969/70,

modern

just
on

"variable

performance

of
such

Composer

determinate,
of the

(Smalley
a

nota

development

compositional

totally

not

of
the

adheres

determinate,"

the

area

of these,

be
of

level

dynamic
of

and

73).

form,"
relevant
an

exercise

works

via

the

to

According
instead,

phenomenon;

with

to

suspended

is ascribable

great

trace
were

tempo

spontaneous

dynamics,

observed
tempo,

the

to

continues

Smalley
of

"indications
from

is

the

tracing

so

will

the

would
denotes

meaning
as

as
hard

just after the medieval period, it was a gradual process of


determining
composer
specificity, at first through

beginning
increasing

"must

over

model

between

a "desire

of the written score"

Smalley,

in

three

or

first,

reflects

score

unequivocal

1969,

"totally

of control

degree

medium

as

The

discussion

on

the

the

86-87).

or

Music"

focuses

that

precise

Relationship

Contemporary
paper

as

(Ibid.,

in

Written

Changing

"indeterminate."
our

not

ideal"

states

realization,
"the

four-hundred

position.

He

High-Modernist

however,

Smalley,

Roger

the

adequate
is

a "projective

preach

however,

symbols

rhythmic

position.

to

of

model would presume"

Performer

and

an

is

over

Aspects

who

factors."

versions

that,

pianist

notation

those

"illegitimate

what

Modernist

of

wary
his

as

and

tional

is as

Cox

Moreover,

that
to

fidelity"

spontaneity

this
the
of the

process,
notated"

Beethoven's

(Ibid.).
during

noting,

elements

next

(Ibid.).

scores,

The
the

to

which

second,
late

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the

romantic

the

Re-Complexifying

and

period,
virtuosity

was

an

provide

such

discretion

of

and

he

who,

verbal

instructions
his

the

score.

student

is

at

model

this

and

the

conclusion
the

whose

"if

then

to-one

his

relationship

resonates

the

In

197).
Smalley
the

order
quotes

of

so

necessary

to

which

of

1969/70,
of

"clear

no

full

"This

or

Ferneyhough,

relationship

longer
musical

statement

for

has

music

Smalley,
amount

greater

to

chain."
between

be

than

the

listener,

but

is the
is

reception

To

added]."7
true

of the

that

Smalley's

later

(Smalley
that

post-Webern,

its

notation,

1998,

Debussy,

specificity,

a way

of

'clearly'

followed"

music,
in

role

the

aural

equally

which

This highlights

of

"In

[emphasis

any

common

meaning,

of notational
realized

to

one

performer

(Weisser

simple

is almost

much

by

the

describes

how

Debussy:
the

represents

in
of

. . . the

directly

the

model's
the

most

performer"
on

other

quotation

this

is defined

discussion

to

projection

intermediary

intention

of
of

indications

Weisser

to the

view

him

the

and

to

process

of

Hence

equal

communicative

direct

no

and

an

composer's

mental

adds,

Webern

ideas

Pruslin's

the

grasp

75).
an

displays

the

sounds

that

Smalley

music

link

leads
all

authentic

its success

his/her

Stephen

succession

meaning,

that

to

This

"According
as

presentational;

transmits

complete

discussion.

acts

(Ibid.).

embodiment

composer/notation

similarly:

notation

is purely

composer

the

an

number

teleological

accurately
be

was

High-Modernist

The High-Modernist

75).

Smalley's

notation

paradigms,
notation

(Ibid.,
in

strongly

"conventional"

the

performance

score.

realizes
will

between

be

the

a performer

Cox's

of

it
the

degree"

of

and

amount

caused

Smalley's

can

through

intention"

composer's

From

rubato

Brahms

however,

"music

discussion

outcome

ideas

that

score

valid

only

composer's

our

coincide.

Smalley

the

notation,

that

point

on

the

music.

incorporate

Ultimately,

Webern

at

notated

ever-increasing

of directions to proliferate to an unprecedented


It

of

to

[that]
Through

been

usually

draws

Smalley
an

74).

realm

began

write

to

began
in

had
the

Chopin

Furthermore,

says,

and

entered

instrumental

textures

(Ibid.,

which

now

of

orchestral

tempo"

cadenzas,

153

exploitation

complex

of

Schumann,

form.

Mahler

Schoenberg

Liszt,

"the

of

regulator

performer,

notated

to

and

aspects)

as

the

Liszt

Alongside
into

its

in-built

composers

due

primarily

all

(in

of Notation

Function(s)

including

follows

Cox's

desire for a

realization,

and

reception.8

John Butt, a scholar on the philosophy


performance

practice,

offers

a contrasting

and criticism of historical

view

to that

of Smalley.

First,

however, his description of the traditional view reveals that Smalley is


not alone in his assertions: "The traditional periodization
of music
formed
work
tends
to
this
view
of
the
history
support
fully
solidifying

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154

of New

Perspectives

in

the

nineteenth

control

over

describes

the

The

same

Wagner,

to

dynamic
to

can

which

factors

the

is

this

Smalley:

story

progress

towards

the

it

tives,

Butt

that

"story"
"The

often

purpose

Taruskin's

negating

might

tieth-century

notation

the

of

we

notation

purely

with

tion

of actual,

work

above

and,
no

by
sheds

of

direct

the

the

technicalities

of

inexorable
narra

grand

and

innocent

which as well

on

the

notational

notation

the

between

score,

to

the

the
then

per
of

complexity

the

In

...
a

have

may
to)

(Ibid.,

preserve

case,

increasing

details

twen

threatindeed

is indeed

contrary

and

of much
effort

of performance

performance

of

relationship

all

means

specificity

the

performance

occasionally

practical

dangers

sub

contradicts

of

light

other

function

simple

prescrip

143).

The underlying aesthetic of New Complexity


ness

he

like

last-chance

If this

of equating

(and

from

wary

notation

and

so

concept

work,

extreme

indeterminacy.
be

over

finally,
are

notation

doing

is

also

of

part

musical

should

the

words,

the

as

inevitabilityof
haps

claims

consider

perhaps

identity

and,

of

by the New Complexicists:

complexity employed
We

serialization

This leads him to a conclusion

earlier

by

nothing

138-139).

by

support

do

Boulez,

the

that

the

and

and

musical

perfected

serves

universally valid" (Ibid.).


as

to

Butt

specification

need

to
and

performer

disputes

tends

more

in performance

performer

sumed by the recorded medium (Butt 2000,


It

the

encompass

Babbitt,

both

in the

continuing:

instructions,

by Messiaen,

in

music,

tape

that

belief
notated

attack

to

extramusical

and

the

read

before

ever
music."

taking

composer
directives

continued

be

musical

and

the

as Smalley

Stravinsky's

than

of

of performance

teleology

'story'
other

more

notation

same

of many

and

century,

the

Music

is a shared critical aware

a collective

that

understanding
and

realization,

is not

reception

pos

sible.
Roger

Redgate

received

ideas
and

argument,
isn't

2006,

notation
99).

this

to

an
be

in

aesthetic

means,"
it and

interpret

creates

seems
With

notation
you

which

possible,

what

what

"how

this

upon

expands
of

interesting

capable

mind,

of

Redgate

"for

as

. . . what
kind
for

one

thing,

encountered

in

is possible

of boundary

the

that

are

Smalley's
and

what

or limit

performer"

observes

there

to

(Redgate
conventional

notation

is "already telling me what kind of music I can write, it's


already providing a kind of contingent matter, if you want, that is

external

to

me

as a composer.

Any

ideas

I have

of music

are

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very

much

the

Re-Complexifying

influenced

down

is

what

by
in

interested

can

notation"

further

(Ibid.,

of whatever

notation,
record

all

encompassing

2003,

encoding

of

then

Dench,

Chris

of

of the

am

ideas

writing

can

sonic

"no

is not

New

another

to

presume
phenomenon

If notation

3).

why

Ferneyhough,
state,

aspects

(Ferneyhough

that's

to

representational

it stands"

as

So

155

process

according

for which

sound,

down.

This

100).
as,

iconically

information

write

actually

complicated

of Notation

Function(s)

an

exact

Complexicist,

offers,
the

notational

purpose

of my

the

unfolding

musical

argument

rubato.

by interpretative
a

series

both

of

and

and

is to

by

. . . This

bar-bracketed

technical

decoding

scores

which

expressive
rather

require

than

tral to the fluidity of my work [emphasis


104).
However,

according

problems

of

but

brings

notational

that

process
choice.

to Ferneyhough,

notation,

can

a specific

elements

an

only
the

to

is cen

1991,

(Dench

awareness

the

through

under

notation,

fore

favorable

simply this: a dialogue

achieve? Perhaps
it is a token

which

it is not

engagement

is,

(that

of the

compositional
as

an

aesthetic

asks,

Ferneyhough

What

an

information

articulation,

Dench's]

as

notation

of

"reading"

reflex

just

dominated

of the

capsules

in

performer

a world

understanding

"cartouches,"

digesting)

the

engage

implying

such

that

the

conditions,

of non-equivalence

realm

to

hope

with the composition

of

separat

ing the two (where, perhaps the 'work' might be said to be ulti
ing

the

the

mid

Separating

themselves

works

works,
solely
as

regarded
representative
through

an

out,

they
on

of

out

this

new

this

insecure

domain

approach,

2003,

the

group.

of another

His

according

of contemporary

part

performance

to

can

2002,

Cox,

discipline

is

be

referred

89-94).
to

they

Heaton

Roger

models,

(Cox

century.

which

century

perspective

to

began

the

pre-twentieth

clarinetist

of Cox's

Absolutism"

of

performed

a new

back

7-8).

twentieth
The

and

of performers

early
who

define

of

performance.

"triumph of Professional
of

the

those
to

works

investigation

purpose

from

attempted
of

worthy

from

outlin

inchoate,

experiential

a group

on,

century

those

the

to

(Ferneyhough

dating

the

articulating

conceptual

twentieth

specialize

based

the

Ferneyhough's]

in

century

sounded

from

way

[emphasis
From

be

located?)

mately

to

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

as the

The main

"legitimize

music as a professional

is

evaluated

the

discipline"

156

of New

Perspectives

(Ibid.,

refers to

Cox

89).

comprising

of

styles

Music

this domain

as

"'official

oriented

composition

more

new

music,'

toward

refining,

inflecting, and rearranging aspects of already discovered domains than


with opening up fundamentally new domains" (Ibid.). In other words,
that

compositions

music (adopting
music

of

Heaton

New

own

which
sarily

more

expressive
the

Heaton's

Players

those

is due
what

of
to

the
He

(Ibid.).
standards.

is

have

who

to

the

risen
for

preference

and

the

20

or

a com

30).

to
out

understanding
within

that,

seems

standing

not

give

to

enough

in

of

he
as

do

the

performance
in

still

standards

performance

cannot

perform

the

notations

complex

his

principle

for

guiding

last

twenty

believes

the

If, having
performers

years,

then

accurately,

Heaton

Furthermore,

composer's.

over

new

reinforcing

interpretation, and feeding his rejection of New Complexity.


improved

not

added]"

performance

claims,

lag

Heaton,
thought

[emphasis

improvement

standards

the
to

therefore

composers

exactitude,

of
not

example,

itselfand

(Ibid.)

which

extremes

According

do

the

years,

neces

a part

1987,

social

from

dramatically"

accuracy,

for

points

style

style,

the

is important

"perhaps,

of
and

Complexityare

musicologists.

advertise

last

so

is (Heaton

role

deserve

they

keen

"Over

music

View,"

terms

not

playing

by,

Heaton

notation,

respect

enjoy

performers'

composers

playthe

though

anything

player's

world,

particular

notated,

New

School

in

to

the

almost

of the

performers

they

command

of

Point

possibilities,

and

absolutism."

music

contemporary
this

want

Viennese

assertion

with

familiarity

stimulating

Second

"professional

behind

contemporary

understand

they

conventionally

whereas

list,

of the

poser

to

less

and

on

Performer's

which

musicminimalism

high

Cox's

or

easy.

recent

of

paths

are favored instead of the

model)
"The

pieces
and

technically

offers

In

prefer

experience

are

well-trodden

that

naturally

their

the

Complexity.

asserts

Players

follow

a High-Modernist

the

fault

is the
in

is

performer

position to guide the composer:


The

does

performer

least

in

such

'idiomatic'

writing,

in all

pieces:

three

performer
position

a great

have

as

practicalities
and

performance,

is potentially
and

is in

he

musicology

the

deal

notation
the

to
and

best

offer

position
and

composition
most

cannot

powerful
exist

the

what

of the
without

not

composer,

used
to

to

be

have

a finger

musicology.
three,

since

performance;

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called

The
com
and

the

Re-Complexifying

the

analysis,

most

and

important

157

of Notation

Function(s)

'active'

of

part

is

musicology,

what the performer does every day (Ibid.).


The

in

performer,

assert

both

"idiomatic"
that

absolute

be

such

technical

unbroken

and

mastery,

such

as

realization

of both
works

of

mastery

and

New

requirements

and
the

grant

technical
and

Smalley

be

professional
to

from
of
the

through

tone"

met

that

of

Heaton's
same

technical

music,

supports

does

"tones,"
of

image

who

these

by

challenging

Mitchell,

Ferneyhough's

require
appearance

resistance

its
the

Brenda

the

it is understandable

with

a variety

realization

absolutists

produce

of tone,

with

of

vocalist

performed

of

illusion

'beautiful'

glossily

and

Complexity,

The

infer

"an

accomplished

exact

were

performer's

can

One

other

beauty

exploration

mastery.

terms

by Cox. However, such an approach


to contemporary music" (Ibid.). Since

Complexity

New

to

position
In

maintain

high-energy,

and
to

performers.
not

Heaton

of notation

complete
of

superior
goals.

would

is in general

(Cox 2002, 89)


"cannot be universally applied
the

composer.

approach
this

as described

performers

the

by

idiomatic

maintenance

take

compositional

is explicitly stating what level of technical

presented

an

can

view,

aims

writing, Heaton
should

challenge
Heaton

Heaton's

musicological

absolute
Heaton

alongside
Heaton's

view:

"It is not the musical difficulty per se from which 'many respectable
musicians'

shy
in

sound

The

context

then

cannot

assert

are

the

maintaining

instruments,
footnote).
with

surely

response

notation,

places

not

are

"because

domain
the

pieces

vocal
of

years

of

of
are

professional
impossible,

by

go

their

very

1987,

they

respective
in

(Ibid.,
nature
to

him
of

his

the

music

32), and thus in

Heaton
has

all"

far as

associates

approach

performer

at
so

challenges

for

music

judgment.
the

even

reasoning"

Ferneyhough's

performer's

notated
whatever

performed

such

standards

"Ferneyhough,
the

be

is

music'

such

musicians

twisted

'new

realize

attempt

performance

absolutism

leading

unreasonable:
to

deserve
such

to even

to

"if

time

within the western classical tradition" (Heaton


Heaton's

during

professional

that

this

"many

paragon

absolutism:

professional

conventional

does

by refusing

highest

Heaton's

the

employ

acquired

of

goals

themselves

Furthermore,
that

way

at

demands

'perfectly'

imply

to

opportunity

observes

cannot

90).

or

the

who

Cox,

the

played

2002,

(Cox
to

be

to

ascribing
by

of

aesthetic

31).

ensembles/performers
demands,

lack

and

1994,
of

dangers

into

the

technical

study" (Mitchell
put

but

away,

the

that

argues
to

fake

and

to

improvise certain sections; players familiar with the style, and probably
well practiced through free improvisation, can get away with it," which
that "a player with a sound traditional
leads to his conclusion

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158

(the

technique
has

of New

Perspectives

no

out

regard

its

terms

instrument

one

only
for
of

comes"

The

aim

of

would

have!)

instrument

reference

Cox

(Ibid.).

maintaining

not

while

within

attempt

still,

the

sums

absolutism,

professional

point,

to

the

Music

by

tradition
his

up

something

which

notation,

setting

the

from

concern

which

toward

that

the

latter

stating:

rigorous

in

standards

performative

music

should always be applauded,

but in an art form which goes by the

name

decision

of

'new

(i.e.,

music,'

least,

highly

relative

to

those

even

of

all

those

these

one's
are

to

which

not

Both

has

to

over

New
sees

and

Heaton

control

every

Smalley
the

as

this

taking

a direct

encoding

understandably
does

transparency

not

offer

realization.

The

performance
century

in

works.

The

is

requiring

fakery

more

music

Heaton

notation

of

and

for

do

ideas

therefore

allow

not

for

earlier

one

the

criticism

major

Therefore

even

we

are
on

improvisation

Alex

journalist

further,

suggesting
but

improvisation,
expert
kind

is one

thrown
a text

freak-out

than

in

Ross,

The

that

it is not

the

notation

can

performers
of planned

their

the

same

infer

from

accurately

performable,

of unnecessary

rhythmic

into

whose

an

area

execute

improvisation,
to

anything

in

Rest
just

is Noise,
the

itself:

is to

"Because

such

notation
akin

to

mainstream

notate

Heaton's
that
not

in

added]

[emphasis

performance

more
the

takes

to play

of approximation

nature

very

detail and control every aspect of performance


(Heaton 1990, 26).
The

and

in performance:

a performer

and

is

twentieth

can

complexity . . . which makes much of this music impossible


accurately.

he

that

Complexity

from

works,

with
what

notation

through

New

not

values
such

of the
Smalley,

fulfill

to

composers'

Complexity

that

unidiomatic

the

as

90).

controlled,

desire

ideas

such

between

more

His

for
this

attempt

Notation,

and

further.

the

standard
achieved

as the

score.

composer's

of New

techniques

Heaton,

For

works

the

the

treat

(Cox 2002,

Complexity

of

trend

of

frustrated

New

become

centuries

past

Complexity

see
aspect

at

is,

to

yet

degree of stability as unworthy of consideration

composer

be

absolute

have

for
secure

challenges)

would
an

concern

relatively

rhythmic

worse

domains

domains

limit
which

and

pitch

questionable;

reliability

condemning

to

domains

conservative

extremely

the

any

standards

maintaining

position
becomes

even

the

an
most

precisely,

it

becomes

a free-jazz

or

avant-rock

classical

mutatis mutandis, a mosh pit for the mind" (Ross 2007,

tradition

522).

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Re-Complexifying

"Rationalization"

and

his

Through
Intermedio
Marsh

Roger
concrete
of

Ciaccona

sums

that

that

to

attempts

show

the

for

the

Marsh's

84).

of

transcription

and

with

the

the

of

both
view
Marsh

Arditti

quartet's

He

score,

concludes
in

resulting

like an improvisation,

are

occasions,

(for it is this and

when

which

sloppiness

does

above)

an

stems

however,

not

performances
Heaton's

notation.

from

noted

the

Ultimately,

Ferneyhough's

discrepancies

resonates

direct
at

in realizing

to

appear

come

least

in

if not

Smalley,

between

terms

of

the

from

the

the

asserting

of

point

notation

and

the
of

importance

a score.

the

comparing

with

relationship

then

performance,
In

result

improvisation.

different

composer

Heaton

understanding

aural

"there

statement

of

accuracy

of

greater

while sounding

which,

the

and

Smalley

close to changing the music into something which the


almost certainly did not intend or predict" (Marsh 1994,

perilously
composer
view

his

rationalization

accounts

in

match

"rationalization":

performer

Ferneyhough's

Quartet,

transcription

reflect

is vastly

performance

approximation,
from

not

of

recordings

of both

gain

results

how

does

performance
that

we

notation

notation

complex

I 59

of Notation

String

Marsh's

piece,

desire

the

Second

concerns

Through

Ferneyhough's

Smalley's

of
and

the

up

example.

Function(s)

Accuracy

examination

alla,

the

score

and

of Ferneyhough's

reading

Second

String

Marsh argues that "rationalisation"


is required to simplify
"rhythmic absurdities" (Ibid.). These absurdities, according to Marsh,

Quartet,
stem

from

the

difficulties

performing

the

performance

of the

Marsh

6a),

85).

values

Marsh's

audible

result

as

Ferneyhough

must

also

earlier

be

a visual
earlier.

approach
the

13-16

(Example

two

successive

jog along in 6/8

a simple

triple"

as

valid,

transcription

is

the

achieve

his

that

passage
the

he

Furthermore,

recording

84

issues

of

would

with

(Ibid.,

of the

recomposition

notation

notation.

complex

mm.

embodiment

His
to

the

transcribing

. . . that

than

complicated

accepts

from

would

instruments

multiple
In

unthinkable

provides

the

same
that,

posits

recomposition

valid.

motivation
of

"absurdity"
the

met
is

offered

a simpler

since

from

more

Heaton

suggests

considered

"it

example

and
that

The

we

passage

with
rhythms.

in a piece by Ferneyhough,

rhythmic

Smalley

associated
complex

concludes,

phrases ...
no

same

behind

Ferneyhough's

position
point

Marsh's

rhythmic

might have discussed

of view

of

the

entire

work,

to

schemes,

demonstrate
yet

the
more

the Arditti's performance


rather

than

in

a select

few

passages. As things stand, his transcriptions merely attempt to show


the inaccuracy of the Arditti's performance: "The point is, however,

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I 60

not

of New

Perspectives

whether

the

Music

is accurate

performance

or

even

whether

the

score

is

playable as written" (Ibid.). Marsh boldly concludes, "It is a music of


generalized, if often spectacular, effect" (Ibid., 86). Silverman's view of
the

between

disjuncture
"So

response:
sounds

in

for

interesting

the music"
Marsh's

or

mind,

in

of

Ciaccona;
the

implicit

transparent
are

about

the

other

lack

transcription

sounded

rationalize

own

all

is Marsh's

units

performance
gesture

to

notate

to

the

this

and

could
is

performed

the

equaling
to

"hear"

fit into
shorter

than

other
the

6/8

in

analysis

(in

If the

notated

the
his

of

the

is

not
of

gestural

score

time,

the

(as

the

meter
the

This

second

is

undoubtedly
the

throughout

in

sense

two

6/8
while

to

precision),

first
to

duration).

meter

the

absolute

notated

is

have

applying

performance

compared

a newly

Marsh's

up

An

with

are

time)

performance

Marsh,

notation

7).

his own

transcription

ends

Arditti's

pitches

recording

performers

process.

(Example

Quartet

the

realization,

Ferneyhough's

complaint

performed

performance,

although

for

between

the

the

to

therefore

the

Marsh's

that

listening

that,

(Arditti

Marsh

prompted

and

how

score.

for

and

Marsh's

thing,

quartet

claiming

alla

method

realization.

too,

Arditti

durations

certainly

prolonged,

Intermedio
same

notation

Consider,

transcription

performed

it is

makescalling

one
the

notation

regarding

notated

very

whether

Quartet

and

Ferneyhough's

clear

particular

something

clear

the

String

For

the

While

problems.

accurate

neither

first

than

makes

realizing

too.

had

rationalization

entirely

not

Marsh

between

Ferneyhough's

recording9

be

applying

notation

recording.

of attempting

process

must

polemical

any

Ferneyhough's

of

Second

between

the

rather

with

fraught

equally
have

by a similar lack of equivalence

would

have

in

that

concerns,

and

transcription

the

of congruence

is undermined

an

they

it is just

do,

argument

relationship

There

There

short

stops
of

do

34). In his dissertation, Weisser examines

1996,

rationalization

misses

it matter?
they

fuels

...

rationalization
he

however,

sound

nothing?

what

(Silverman

processes

Marsh's

about

doesn't

them

and

sign

is it all

rest

of

the

example.

If indeed the third and fourth gestures fell naturally into 6/8,

Marsh's

argument

opening

measure,

time"

than

to

"Marsh

applying Cox's
expects

succeeded.
is

performance

However,
actually

the

excluding

closer

to

the

"Score

time."

Marsh's

Furthermore,

have

might
the

transcription

High-Modernist
to

performance

and

follows

argument

model to Ferneyhough's
match

the

and

notation,

through

transcription he is taking the place of the listener, thus completing


of

expectation
performer

to

"clear

listener.

communicative
It

would

be

chain"
easy

to

from
assert

notation

that

in

Smalley

music.-Marsh

the

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

the

through
differences

Re-Complexifying

example

6a:

ferneyhough's

the

Function(s)

second

of Notation

string

I 61

mm.

quartet

14-15.

Copyrightby HinrichsenEdition,PetersEditionLimited,London
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)
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example

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6b:

marsh's

aural

.J J-3,-4-*

transcription

(iaUV fc?)

of m. 15

of example 6a (ibid., 84-85).

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I 62

of New

Perspectives

Music

TotalTime
Score"Time*
Marsh"Tune"
Ardirti
Quartet'Time"

example

0.68
0.909
0.817

1.71
0.909
0.81

7: ferneyhough's

second
and

between

Marsh's
are

recording
the

as

than

that

this

that

"What

dance)

hear

is how

Marsh's

(Ibid.).
listening

process
than

an

would

recorded

6b]"

(Marsh

active

like

no

to

between
as

However,
transcription
perform

we

have

and

the

Marsh's

the

Arditti

say

no.

The

most

one

as

what
to

ought

hears

"Try

as

he
his

you

get
and

it appears

anything
assumes

by

previously

(bucolic
yet
not

by his assumption

suggested

conclusion

matter,

listeners,

is invalidated

raise
score

one
and

his

for
to"

that the
Pruslin,

final

with Marsh's
apprehension
the difficulty of asserting a direct

recording's

transcription,
use

The
of

realization.

a 6/8

seen,

Marsh
and

transcription

already

performance?
very

and

This

so

as

However,

passage.

his

brings

this

Hence

is

notation,

meter:
of

to

response
the

doing

6/8

the

one.

between

difference

in

86).

asymmetry)

passive

to

the

transcription which acknowledges


relationship

Instead,

performance

probably

to

Marsh

and

of

Marsh's

contrary,

listener's

response

1994,

different.

and

realization

analysis

the

the

music,

receives

conclusion
is

that

relation

the

quite

Arditti

the

in

(rhythmic

actually

Ferneyhough,

rather

see

computer

performer's

to

arditti's

On

transmission.

everybody

you

the

evidence

the

listener

[Example

are

to

0.86
0.83
0.747

quartet,

incompetence.

performance

cannot

0.37
0.498
0.35

transcription.

and

further

unmediated

Ferneyhough's
other

his

similar

direct,

experiences

might

to

provides

performance,

not

string

marsh's

transcription
due

transcription

0.66
0.498
0.567

listening
meter,

asserts
Arditti's
exist

differences

analysis.
would

the

resulting

process
from

if we

performance

aside,
a historical

there

is

performance.

between

Hypothetically,

the

that

I would
point

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Marsh's
were

to

match
have

to

of view,

the

Re-Complexifying

leads

implicitly

to

pulse.

Marsh's

of

transcribed

his

different
that

is

not

make

sense.

accentuate

the

we

on

The

his

sfffz;
the

own

in

yardstick
fully

realizing
the

performance,
have

seen,

however,

For

reflect

experience;

The

performer

end.

Cox's

a general
use

he

or

she

traverses

aesthetically

to

the

of

he

is recomposing

and

accuracy
score.

the

By

accurate

able

the
to

As

make

we
such

around

revolving
New

Complex
that

lead

to fail.

an

exact

of

a process,

work,

in

success

model.

of

encoding

making
extent

not

as

criteria

for

which

the

to

and

recognize

the

decisions

"The

challenges:

spiritually

vital

complexities"

beginning

lie

is an

as the

model approach

technical

common
three

an

with

present

with

all

complexities

"extreme

the

engage

to

though

never

is

present

frustration

performances

is technically

performer

can

various

adequate

Thus,

not

High-Modernist
notational

notation
has

not

is

through

complaints,

notation

Ferneyhough,

the

do

of the

challenges

Their

composers'

aural

to

of

Marsh

posits

the performer employing a High-Modernist


the

seem

violins

Marsh

demands

Ferneyhough's

on

centering

the
sfffz

would

Fundamental

performance

fulfill

music,

Ferneyhough's

of

transcription

recording;

and

Heaton,

technical

untenable.

approach

beat

tendencies.

notational

performers

very

second

subdued.

of notation.

the

first

of meter

Ferneyhough's

accurate

the

to

a sense

score)

first and

are

from

a successful

navigating

an
the

they

passage

function

that

understanding

that

Smalley,

the

regarding

were

rationalizing

of

thoughts

note

rather

places
the

renotating

of each

lead

surely
the

note

quarter

beginning

stress
In

Marsh

if this

would

would

recording.

transcription,
on

the

conversely

Arditti

solely

transcribing

it based

the

Nonetheless,
then

ity,

his

(relying

recording,

simply

in

of

on

which

would

163

a dotted

stressing

emphasis

measures,
that

apparent

which

an

6/8

measure

here,

approach,
places

realizationone

second

view

a different

transcription

of Notation

Function(s)

embody

the demands of fidelity (NOT


It is not a question of
'exactitude'!).
20% or 99% 'of the notes'" (Ferneyhough
2003, 71). The notation
does

not

present

single

but

path

entrances

and

notation

(via the High-Modernist

exits.

Moreover,

Ferneyhough.
the

supposed

Previous

works

of

something
of view,
"authentic
Given
independent

link
been

"as

the

notation
the
a

approaching
faces

performance"
the

complexities
from

the

next,

with

in

the

invariant

graspable,

the

by

question
listener.
entity,

as

5). From this point


work

looking

for

the

task.

impossible

inherent

the

and

performer

Ferneyhough's
an

and

is rejected

raises

that can be directly transmitted" (Ibid.,

a performer

multiple

performer

la Cox)

model,

between
seen

with

labyrinth

between

Ferneyhough's

direct
have

rather

link

a direct

Thus,

the
the

work,
performer

each

reading

providing

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is
"a

I 64

of New

Perspectives

determination

the

of

assigned

preferential

process"

(Ibid.,

4).

via

incorporate,

at

of

any

generative
of

mediation

destruction

elements

of

stage

the

(secondary

which

(strata)

to Ferneyhough,

According

the

the

'approach'),

combination
status

Music

the

the notation
(his

performer
which

encoding)

are

realization

"must

personal

it seems

to

be

the task of most music to brush impatiently aside" (Ibid., 5). In short:
banish the belief in a single way to approach a work; challenge the
inbuilt

to

tendency

should

represent

Harry
Marsh.

Motion

that

he

felt

Ferneyhough's

but

on

that

the

that

the

what

notation

notes

had

performance

he

musically

made

percent"
a recording

surprised

what

At

Ferneyhough.
Spartanay,

"[Ferneyhough]
he

was

right,

and

that's

wants

from mere

is distinguished

Musicality

Time

thirty

it to

premier

that's

struggle,

Heaton,

succeeded
than

that

and

Ferneyhough's

more

the

of

demonstration
Smalley,

of

sending

for

(Ibid.).

to

he

grab

perfect,"

real

suitable

premier

didn't

preference

was

as

a response
felt

Spartanay

about

training

tackled.

world

Following

in the music"

what's

"technically

reflection

because

the

think
37).

was

first

as

/, Spartanay

1990,

be
act

well

as

performed

notewise

of

years

thoughts

Studies

(Spartanay

to

it should

position

Having

"but

how

Spartanay's

Ferneyhough's
and

resort

and

accuracy.
Irvine

the

Arditti,

performed
supports

Spartanay's

questions

the

privileges
her

often

that
"If

accuracy,

is conveyed

the

an

the

Arditti
on

Quartet)

String

Ferneyhough's

view

held

of

violinist
Second

and

perfect

work

first

Ferneyhough's

quartet

(who

the

hand

one

comments.

previous

He

adequate

performance

is one

composer.

. . . chooses

that

sufficiently

without

traditional

limits

a high

level

that
his

of accuracy,

or

then

this should be the criterion for judging if the performance is valid or


not" (Arditti 1990, 9). In addition, though, Arditti is clearly attracted
to

the

transcending
the

through
uncover

new

technical

development

realms

of

of
of
for

possibilities

instrumental

skills:
the

performance
era

"Every

seems

What

player.

to

was

not

earlier this century [twentieth], is or will be possible. It is the


player's responsibility to transcend traditional limitations and find new
possibilities of interpretation" (Ibid.). Though to be sure the "strain"

possible

of performance
Arditti

notes,

these

'strain'

rather

than

Within
the

the

the

under
of

of the
strain

an

only
the

but

factors
'more'

a framework

direction

making

is not
"Sometimes

work;
end

such
the

outcome

an

however,
itself,

control
these
the

then

the

of

becomes

factors

struggle

'less'

can

restrain
becomes

focus.

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

all

(Ibid.).

player"

must

as

and,

a product

of the

"strain"

performers

otherwise

notation

becomes

interpretation

conscious

interpretation
in

of a complex

interpretation

focus
from
the

the

Re-Complexifying

refers

Cox

to

wild

stab

at

share

generally

to

must

form

of

the

etc."

as

the

difficult

learning

area

the
for

'cue-sheet'

is

ment.
can

vital

leads

of

demanded

to

be

for

in Spartanay,

seen

Many

of

is not

of

performance

human

and

professional

famous

and

can

level,
one

help

to

have

music

can

of which

performer:
so

grateful

and

the

as a composer

survive

develop

praise

understood

when

particularly

are

accept

be

in

This learning

of the

and

they

to go

music

some

feet

been

that

This

insufficient realizations.

wildly

at the

solely

music

their

glorified
habits,"

complex

of approach,

type

laid

interpretational

piece's

this

of complex

composers
any

the

with

who

Cox,

as
musical

by

the

interpretation

music
their

to
of

and refusal "on principle

process

component

dissatisfaction

Cox's

which

aspects

order to realize their freedom through the music" (Ibid.).


process

often

domain,

according

treat

which is tied to a lack of accuracy


through

The

relaxed

performers

performers

freedom,'

work'

'drudge

glorifying

"Such

taskwhich

notated
the

of

"a

Cox's

79).

distrust

'artistic

somewhat

or

score:

is a hallowed

dynamics

notation,

spatial

the

there

against

such

2002,

(Cox

from

take

challenge

and/or

that

becomes
often

music"

comes

where

Self-Assertion,"
a new

for

disparaging

over

rhythms,

"too

the

intuition'

struggle

model

comments,

of

assumption

the

pitch,

this

of

approach

cost

"Absolute

looking

spirit

sovereign
of

i.e.

within

the

'artistic

remain

glorification
score

the

the

as

as

approach

performers
this

at

performer

referred

an

realizing

towards

negativity
the

such

classical

accomplished

I 65

of Notation

Function(s)

on

a
is

performer
footnote

(Ibid.,

on 79-80).
not

Though

all

all

performers

revolution

of

proficient

performance,

mediating

In

position.
that

posits

aspects

the

or

with

on

Toon

terms
less

van

music,

music

the

is

of

the

technically

Ulsen

Ferneyhough's
of

majority

in

Arditti
Spartanay's

trombonist

a discussion
the

although

with

agree

of playing

offers
van

Ulsen
the

possible,

remaining "impossible" challenges feel as though they make sense, but


"approaching them in a global manner doesn't seem to unveil their fall
either.

meaning
much

effort

(van

Ulsen

approaches
failure,

no

disconcerting.
into

a positive

The

as you

only
can

and

choice
accept

left

have

you
that

seems

will

you

to

fail to

be

a certain

to

put

as

extent"

1990, 38). Given that this is contrary to traditional


to performing music, it is no wonder that this feeling of
matter

how

However,
one,

where

much
van

work

Ulsen

interpretation

is

continues,
seems

could

forward,

put

turning
more

the

pertinent:

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situation

be

166

of New

Perspectives

Once

you

have

accepted

your

role

understand
play

as many

you

are

this

therein
notes

wrong

fundamental

as very
as you

a far greater

given

Music

this

and

does

reinterpretation

Not

but

want,

freedom

you

begin

because

you

because

not

go

to
can

as a performer
than

in most

far enoughthe

idea

responsibility

other music (Ibid.).


Nevertheless,

choice

positive.

of

failure is still based on the yardstick of accuracy. Steven Schick, a dedi


cated

of complex

performer
for

Alphabet
basis

solo

for a re-evaluation

the

Normally

music

of the

performance

sent a piece

of music? The

to

music

of New

is the

of a piece

capacity

of music.

a piece

play

of

especially

a different

of learning

goal

(and

offers

percussion),

what

initial need

music

mance

This

counters

favor

of

more

term

the

fluid

and

the

performance
us

is sacred.
tion

term,

long

to

that

the

score,

Performers
a faithful

to perfect

and

discussion
have

Complexity

that notation
increase

in

and

the

shroud

of

plays. This

notational

rich

works

the

short
of
west

objectified,

music

means

devo
need

paralyzing

first few
of

It

performances

evolution

over

the

(Ibid.).

to

as

the

flexibility.

music

The

the

in

Smalley,

both

much

this

score.
on

95).

Unfortunately,
too

experience

under

a reductive

reduction

density

as

environment

of classical

falling

due

player.
of

emphasis

author's]

flexible

to venerate
of

the

suffered

the

suspicious

that

over

development,

and

places

neglects

long term [emphasis


The

Marsh,

as

repre

learning

Heaton,

reproduction

mistakenly

a piece

of

2006,

is

learn

a view

(Schick

by

piece

to

the physical

the integrity of a perfor

foregrounds

practice

it mean

to develop

of presentation

espoused

of learning

between

teaches

of

views

view

the

exchange
ern

as accuracy

experience

the

provides

of a representative

does

. . . curates

perfecting, the focus of which locates

that

Complexity:

preparation

But

Bone

Ferneyhough's
view

the

epithet

of
of the

understanding

New
role

is simplistic in that it sees the

a direct

of an

corollary

apparent

need

to control the music in a bid to "realize their ideal of infinite musical


evolution under infinitely fine control."
Consequently,
performers
attending to this view apply interpretations that are simplified to a one
to-one
the

from

mapping
page

to

their

the

"perfect"

score
aural

to

the

performance,

realization

(the

of

the

"work"

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notes
for

on
them

the

Re-Complexifying

exists

in

solely

functions

the

notated

notation

of

in

Such

score).
the

a re-complexification

complexification,
performance

paradigm

dialogue

between

extended

period

away

performer

from
and

that
the
score

reductions

simplistic
are

music

167

of Notation

Function(s)

in

dire

shifts
idea
which

need

the
of

New

of

of

the

re

Complexity
to

"perfection"
takes

place

of time.

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over

a
an

I 68

of New

Perspectives

Music

Notes

1. New

has been defined as a "group"


Complexity
by Richard
Taruskin, Music in the Late Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford
Press,

University

"Movement"

476;

2010):

by Alex

to the Twentieth Century (New

Strauss

Giroux,

2007):

"Ageing

of

and

Williams,

"Branch

522;
the

of new

new:

the

The

Ross,

is Noise: Listening

York:

music"

Rest

Farrar,

by Alastair

museum

of

musical

in The Cambridge
modernism,"
History of Twentieth-Century
Music, eds. Nicholas Cook and Anthony Pople (New York, NY:
527; A "journalistic slogan"
Cambridge University Press, 2004):
Peter

by

Nelson,

no. 1 (1995):
the

ing

"Introduction,"

that

Hand

Feeds

Music

Contemporary

1; "Supermarket

by Michael

labeling"

You,"

Music

Contemporary

Review

13,

Finnissy, "Bit
Review

no.

21,

1 (2002):
75; A "school of thought" by James Boros, "Why Com
plexity? (Part Two) (Guest Editor's Introduction),"
Perspectives of
New Music 32, no. 1 (1994):
92; A "radical aesthetic," by Christo
1982-90,"
pher Fox, "British Music at Darmstadt
Tempo New
Series, no. 186 (September,
23; A "broad aesthetic," by
1993):
tion

"Heroic

Marsh,

Roger

between

Motives.
and

Sign

Marsh

Roger

Sound

in

Considers

the
The

Music,"

'Complex'

Rela

Musical

Times 135, no.1812


(February, 1994): 83; Or as a "resistance to
musical post-modernism"
by Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf in "Second
ModernityAn

Facets

Assessment,"

Attempted

the

of

Second

Modernity, New Music and Aesthetics in the 21st Century, 6 (2008):


14.

But

black

the

primarily

notes

per

page

earlier

by Ferneyhough's

2. See

also

(1985):
Toop's
3.

It

is not

term
rather

has

been

than

used

the

to

refer

broader

to

the

complexities

density

of

offered

music.

Contact 29
Christopher Fox, "A Darmstadt
Diary,"
45, where the term New Complexity is used prior to

article.
that

surprising

Taruskin's

negative

reaction

to

notational

complexity can also be found in his description of the Ars Subtilior


period,

which

he

describes

as

an

"explosion

of convoluted

musical

artifice and intricate embellishment

that, it is often said, reached a


height of sumptuous complexity unrivaled until the twentieth cen
tury." Taruskin goes on to claim that "In the name of subtilitas,
composers

at the

end

a sort of technical

of the

fourteenth

arms race."

century

Taruskin,

became

involved

in

Music from the Earliest

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the

Re-Complexifying

Notation

to

the

Sixteenth

Cassidy
the
5.

other

provided

piece

Aaron

allow

they

Cassidy,

Oxford

University

for performance by violin, viola, or cello, but

4. The piece is designed


does

York:

(New

Century

337.

Press, 2010):

I 69

of Notation

Function(s)

non-fretted
use

only
from

preface

instruments

string

four

to

perform

strings.

"Crutch

of

2004,

score,

Memory,"

Sidney Cox Music Library, Cornell University.


6.

Ferneyhough,

from

preface

Dream

Cassandra's

(London:

Song

Edition Peters, 1975).


7.

"Maxwell

Pruslin,

Stephen

Davies's

8.

any

case,

where
and,

Can

alone

the

as

henceforth

'Interpret'

it? Susan

Bradshaw

gram

in

define

detail."

specific

analysis

themselves

to

their

Susan

Investigates,"

to

were

soon

stylistic

go

Musical

Do

We

ways

abundantly

points

Times

future

separate

make

Fingers
or

musical

their

to

starting

"All

Music,
The

in

"In

states:

Bradshaw

place

need

Bradshaw,

Contemporary

and
Just

in

ever

Thumbs.
Perform
no.

1811

editing

pro

135,

22.

examines

order

Susan
no

have

Fantasia,"

Aspects of

in Smalley, "Some

assertions,

increasingly

composers

We

The

his

could

would

(January, 1994):
9.

in

approximation

composers

clear,
more

not

is

Smalley

Taverner

Second

Tempo 73 (Summer 1965): 2, quoted


the Changing Relationship," 75.

to

offer

the
a

recording
precise

an

through
reading

of

the

audio
Arditti

performance.

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Quartet's

170

of New

Perspectives

Music

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