"Perspectives 163: Every Sound You Can Imagine"

The CAMH showcases jazz on paper

Jazz not only changed the way we hear music - it changed the way we see it. The genre's free-form, improvisational delivery inspired a new notation system. "Perspectives 163: Every Sound You Can Imagine" examines the rise of experimental notation and reveals its later influence on visual artists.

Among the sheet music on display is Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Cosmic Pulses," which resembles math and science charts. Trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith's colorful arrangements, including "Cosmic Music," look like kindergarten drawings with overlapping circles, airplanes and strings of beads winding down the page. These and other works by experimental legends including John Cage, Earle Brown and Philip Glass look more like artwork than instructions.

Years later, the ditties' doodles inspired artists to place notation into the context of works on paper, video, photography and mixed media. Steven Roden's When Stars Become Words features a planet with speakers for craters drawn on music tablature paper. And Stephen Vitiello's Pond Set began as a series of photographs of the edge of a pond; he then overlaid the pond's rippling waves onto the lines of musical staff paper, and that developed into a composition. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through December 7. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose. For information, call 713-284-8250 or visit www.camh.org. Free.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 3. Continues through Dec. 7, 2008

 
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