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Sam Scranton

What makes artistic collaboration work?

Collaboration works best when each artist agrees on the groundwork for participation in the project so that everyone has a clear sense of their role in the process. Collaboration can be an amazing thing that yields work otherwise impossible, but it has to be undertaken with mutual understanding and a high degree of openness. Most importantly, collaborators must not hold on too tight to any one idea, trusting that are many possible solutions to every artistic problem, including one that will be exciting to all parties.

Where are the limits of notation?

The limits of notation are simultaneously growing and diminishing. If you think of notation as a ‘score’ meant to immediately communicate a set of prescriptive actions yielding a predictable audible outcome as in a kit for simple recreation, this form has become increasingly limited. Notation has always been parasitic on an aural tradition of performance practice, and as performance practice becomes localized to individual ensembles seeking increasingly novel sounds with technologies developed for single events, one can no longer assume a broad-based performance practice. Therefore each ‘score’ communicates less on its own. That said, if you think of notation in an expansive sense, as ‘documentation’, it grows daily. For example, if one considers the notation for pop music to be a lead sheet with chord progressions, melody and lyrics, one will have a difficult time recreating the original. But now, one can go on the internet and research the original’s recording process including microphone techniques, gear used during the recording, studio effects, room size/shape/material. With this knowledge and an expanded notion of the musical text, artists can reproduce things previously not possible, thanks to today’s easy access to the preponderance of information now available.

Which sound is special for you?

A 12″ close-mic’d tile rubbed with a river stone


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© ️Molly Roth Scranton