It’s what we have: the written, the inscribed, the “given” –
and how we want to perform it. Or not.
written-not-written is an open platform dedicated to musical processes before and beyond the actual production of music.
How music is bound with non-musical things, signs, systems, rituals, and how it passes through medias, histories and bodies.
All texts, sounds and images compiled in the framework of the
practice of Augustin Maurs.
webdesign Benedikt Reichenbach
BBC Culture / Vivienne Chow Taiwan’s eerie sonic weapon
Jörg Heiser Manifestations on Musicality
Augustin Maurs (ed.) Musicality
artreview / Robert Barry Myth Music and Electricity
BLOUIN ARTINFO interview with Augustin Maurs
Augustin Maurs Virtuosity Violins and Weapons
Dieter Roelstraete The Political Economy of Table Music
Christian Baier Das Ende der Inszenierung
South Magazine / Augustin Maurs Music to Save Europe
Berliner Zeitung / Peter Ühling Winterreisen
Lily Matras Tarantella
Impuls Kondensator / Augustin Maurs Voici ce que nous avons vu
Acient Greek αγωγός (agōgós, “leader”).
A ‘dynamic accent’ (accent of force), the “curving” of a (musical) continuity.
Basically phrasing. Changing the course of.
Aura of doing.
Cet espace d’air intellectuel, ce jeu psychique, ce silence pétri de pensées qui existe entre les membres d’une phrase écrite, ici, est tracé dans l’air scénique, entre les membres, l’air et les perspectives d’un certain nombre de cris, de couleurs et de mouvements.
Cadence – “flow of rhythm in verse or music”, from old Italian cadenza „conclusion of a movement in music“, from Latin „to fall“, sometimes used literally for “ an act of falling”.
Falling as making a point. As if gravity
As Cage started loving music, he loved the individual sounds. Then he learned that there were intervals and chords, and gradually the sounds were not sounds anymore, but they were assigned significance.
What is a deceptive cadence, he asked, and answered:
“The idea is this: / progress in such a way / as to imply the / presence of a / tone not actually / present; then / fool everyone by not / landing on it – / land somewhere else. “A Composer’s Confessions” (1948).
Ancient Greek word κᾰνών, KANÔN (“rod”,“rule”) also stands for a musical instrument: the monochord, the instrument that Pythagoras used to develop his “circle of fifths”, the geometrical representation of 12 pitches which provided the theoretical fundaments of western music until today.
The Arabic word قانون QĀNŪN (“rule”, “law”, “norm”) as well stands for a widespread music instrument – probably derived from the greek monochord, and appeared in the 10th century. The qānūn is a type of zither played in much of the Middle East, Maghreb, West Africa, Central Asia, and southeastern regions of Europe.
In the western music, the musical genre known as CANON appeared around the 16th century is a compositional process based on various types of imitations, such as inversion, retrograde, retrograde-inverse imitation, etc. These alterations and shiftings of a singular musical theme generate the entire composition. The canonical imitation is one of the key techniques in classical music writing.
Subjects becoming objects becoming subjects becoming objects
Past becoming future becoming past becoming future
Rhythm becoming articulation becoming rhythm becoming articulation
Intonation becoming color becoming intonation becoming color
A repeated or additional performance called by the audience at the end of a concert. Often reflecting the momentary state of mind of musicians, encores can result in uniquely intimate musical renditions, or into moments of excessive extravaganza or pretense – sometimes even exceeding the given frame of the entire event. Increasingly associated with less serious performances, encores have sometimes been officially banned from certain theaters, for potentially leading to public disorder.
Eventually, the encore breaks the machine of representation. (Jimi Hendrix playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Woodstock in 1969).
A stutter in the machine of representation.
To make a sound, it is necessary to identify with something non musical.
Music making is about inserting non-musical things into music.
Musicality is music bound to the outside – and the outside of music as part of music itself.
tempo rubato / stolen time
If music is traditionally organised through quantifiable time parameters, it is also the evidence of the unquantifiable essence of time. That is what
is evoked by the notion of “tempo rubato”, Italian for “stolen time”. The rhythmic freedom adopted by the interpreter, the transitory and
unmeasurable features of the musical act. The “tempo rubato” is a musical union between time and space, singular and irreproducible. It opposes
the codified, institutionalised, “given” time: the synchronised effort, which is precisely that which enables music to be reproduced and commodified.
Though, the act of stealing time is an act, which revokes the very notion of acting: embedded in an existing and accredited environment, acting always implies a form of synchronization (and the synchronized act is thus always an act “for” even if it intends to be “against”). However, in the spirit of Cage’s unconditional need of change, the haptic immediacy of stealing time is precisely the short of acting; the ability of leaving a state for another, a simultaneity in the Bergson’s sense – as an intersection between time and space. It is rather inhabited by the malleable sheerness of doing. It bears the Aura of a “now” which is at the same time the technique and the raison d’être of the tempo rubato:
a theft doubled by a “giving up”.
tempo rubato /stolen time
The search of “now” in a synchronised world resembles the story of the boy sitting on a donkey holding a carrot right in front its muzzle. As the donkey moves forward to get the carrot, it remains out of reach. That carrot is the given now; right there but not accessible. If we find ourselves doomed to passive voyeureism, it is because we listen as we look. Though “One can look at seeing; one can not hear hearing,” as Duchamp recalls.(Green Box, 1934) Music becomes music by checking out of music.
By defining of form of freedom, the Tempo Rubato also outlines the contours of a restriction. The literal meaning of the term makes it clear:
time is not free;
to steal it is a sin. The purpose of the Tempo Rubato thus first unfolds when in relation with the regulated organization of time, which, exemplified by the metronome, more and more prevailed in the institutions and practice of music in the European pre-industrial dawn.
As the “vir” of “virtue” attests (“vir” is Latin for “man”), the notion of virtue is anchored in the activities of men. By observing their code of conduct, the Knightly Virtues, the Knights possessed the means both legally and technically to kill. Virtues were just as many attires which imparted men the monopoly of action, beyond good and evil so to say. Virtuosity pursued both this male monopoly and this custom of disguise. The musical virtuosos of the18th and 19th centuries were men. And if the virtuosos did not possess the right to kill (although wasn’t Paganini suspected of an obscure murder?), they were acclaimed for their ability of elaborating the dramatization of fear and of conveying the flavor of death. Similarly, the bourgeois concert was designed as a festive and social event, which simultaneously ought to enable the permutation of seemingly incompatible notions. Virtuosity was to satisfy the concealed and ultimate motive of these events, namely the compulsive need of getting scared. To death. The virtuoso was the fabrication of a figure as well as the linguistic shell in which the incompatibilities of values contained in the emotional needs of nascent bourgeoisie were compiled. The “cadaverous” and potentially murderous Paganini therefore remains the perfect incarnation of the virtuoso, revealing the specific twist of the term, in both its etymological and historical dimensions. (Augustin Maurs)
Every political action, in fact, shares with virtuosity a sense of contingency, the absence of a “finished product,” the immediate and
unavoidable presence of others. On the one hand, all virtuosity is intrinsically political.
The musical utopia of economic valuelessness and the concept of a greater, noneconomic value then attach themselves to the logic of virtuosity—as Paolo Virno calls it—as a normative model of production, of labor without work.
The wolf tone is the acoustical parasite resulting from the interference of vibrations produced on a certain note on string instruments. This designation itself refers to the “wolf fifth”, a metaphor of the unpleasant rendition of an interval that has been artificially cut of to fit in the Pythagorean system of the “circle of fifth”, on which all western music is based. In reality, a series of Pythagorean fifths does not appear as a closed circle, but as an infinite spiral.
Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum (orbital resonance) based on their orbital revolution, and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear. Subsequently, Plato described astronomy and music as “twinned” studies of sensual recognition: astronomy for the eyes, music for the ears, and both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions.
Ich Wolf, ein grimmig Thier und Fresser vieler Kinder,
Die ich weit mehr geacht’, als fette Schaf’ und Rinder,
Ein Hahn, der bracht’ mich um, ein Bronnen war mein Tod;
Nun häng’ am Galgen ich, zu aller Leute Spott.
Als Geist und Wolf zugleich thät ich die Menschen plagen,
Wie recht geschiehet mir, daß jetzt die Leute sagen:
/ Ha! du verfluchter Geist bist in den Wolf gefahren, /
Hängst nun am Galgen hier geziert mit Menschenhaaren. /
Dieß ist der rechte Lohn und wohlverdiente Gab’, /
So du verdienet hast, der Galgen ist dein Grab. /
Hab’ dieses Trankgeld dir, weil du fraßt Menschenkinder, /
Wie ein wuthgrimmig Thier und rechter Menschenschinder
Ostensibly pronounced: SHAW is a likely fictitious entry in an encyclopedia which fooled logologists for many years. It referred to a purported Maori word meaning “drum”, “fife”, or “conclusion”. In 1903, author Rupert Hughes published The Musical Guide, an encyclopedia of classical music. Among the many sections of the “Guide” was a “pronouncing and defining dictionary of terms, instruments, etc”. The “dictionary,” 252 pages in all, explained the meaning and gave the pronunciation of German, Italian, and other non-English words found in the terminology of classical music. At the end of the dictionary, immediately following the entry for “zymbel” (German for cymbal), Hughes added the following definition:zzxjoanw (shaw). Maori. 1. Drum. 2. Fife. 3. Conclusion.
The entry was retained when the book was republished under different titles in 1912 and 1939.