[inspiration for these processes began with Ramesh Vinayakam’s Gamaka Box Notation System. See here for the Gamaka Box webpage, and here for a basic explanation sheet.]

Step 1) The player must become self-reflective, introspective and interrogate the nature of “gesture” of musical “meaning” or implications in their practice. But in the first instance, these deeply learned assumptions about sound and sedimentary metaphors can only emerge unconsciously, and/or while playing. 

A) Note Etudes – analysis through fragmentation and reconstruction

B) Anecdote – past life experiences of playing, re-enacting and verbal description

C) Physical movement – imagining quotidian life experience, applying the gestures to music

D) Imaginative correlations to literature, landscape, food – manifested in musical sound

Step 1a) [not as of yet attempted] Direct / Literal metaphorical and formal re-adaptation. Try superimposing and juxtaposing the following socio-musicological ways of being / archetypes in music in different, experimental ways:

Discourse about sound in cultures tends to essentialize because of the difference between the domains – form and content tend to conform by adhering to structural archetypes because of the suggestive power of these narratives…

“Notes” = a process of writing on the page / how to realise the construction of the house of the psyche of the composer – a hierarchy of moments featuring tension and release [Schenkerian]. How notes then, going further, actually symbolize whole sections (i.e. prolongation). Notes serve a subjective vision of cultural achievement. Building, growth, monuments. Sonata AABA form. Notes are highly fixed as nodes as they the emphasize the macrostructure. Further metaphor of the keyboard. Phrases are highly rhetorical, following the “period / sentence” structure. Harmony changes constantly – homophonic structure
Modernism – music as “alien” expression / cosmic scope / social critique.  Experimentalism is closely aligned – but the core metaphor is of art as science, matter, mind.

The underlying musical approach is to show how can the structure of melodies mirror the structure of the raga in making pleasing effects on the ear of the listener. Rasa theory in which certain ragas (and priyogas – typical phrases) imply one of eight emotions and also an emotion of Bhakti which is a combination and beyond all of them. How to heighten these and trick time in its cyclic nature to contract and expand our experience of these states is in focus.

Sruti (somewhat like „interval“, means „that which is heard“)
Swarasthanas mean Swaras that are „standing“ in their place – this is actually the closest to eurological music’s „notes“. There are 12 of them like the notes on the piano. Sorams or Soramsthanas are sometimes used interchangeably with Sruti or Swara but they are extended out from the 7 basic swaras of which there are 16 positions (some enharmonic) within the octave in Carnatic music for different scale constellations.

Notes serve an iconic part of human experience in the cultural context of devotion. A meditation. Further metaphor of the voice. Notes are highly malleable and tend to merge, then stray from drone fundamentals and particular intervals which function or resonate as long-tone presences putting a focus on the immediate moment.  Krithi ABCA. Phrases mostly repeat twice, thrice or four times like a chain with variations.

Turkish Perdes = a screen, curtain or blinds. Hamparsum Limondjian developed the Hamparsum notası (notation) which was the first extensively used notation system for transcribing Ottoman Art Music from the late 18th century till the adoption of Western Music Notation in the 20th century. The system is still used in Armenian Orthodox Church and was developed from the earlier Khaz neume system which dates back to the 9th century.
A story is unfolding which is known in the hearts of the musicians, the notes are a layer on top of this story. The metaphorical implication is that by listening one can draw back these curtains to realize the scene.  Perdes as moveable layer, “place” [Ozan Baysal]

Certain notes in Middle Eastern music theory imply a whole mode because it is the starting note. Notes serve retellings/ a poetry / an enchantment to understand sorrow and sadnesses. A communion, an expression as a virtuous life in the face of difficulty. Notes are highly malleable but mainly to emphasize progression through ¼-tone maqams built on staunch tetrachord skeletons that create a modulating harmonic structure with a developing narrative. Turkish: Sama’i. (rondo-like). Phrases develop continuously less in question and answer than a constant heightening but multiple internal motivic rhymes are shifted rhythmically to keep internal repetition at a very high density, yet variable in time.

Notice the meaning of the Middle Eastern „Naghma“, orginally meaning “Modulation, Song”, is similar.

Tones (yīn) in Chinese music correlated with organs, elements, yin-yang, etc. They put the universe in harmony with objects:

„…The classical writings on music discuss a 12-tone system in relation to the blowing of bamboo pipes (lü). The first pipe produces a basic pitch called yellow bell (huangzhong). This concept is of special interest because it is the world’s oldest information on a tonal system concerned with very specific pitches as well as the intervals between them. The precise number of vibrations per second that created the yellow bell pitch is open to controversy (between middle C-sharp and the F above) because the location of this pitch could be changed by the work of new astrologers and acousticians on behalf of a new emperor, in order that his kingdom might stay in tune with the universe. The choice of the primary pitch in China had extramusical as well as practical applications, for the
length of the yellow bell pipe became the standard measure (like a metre), and the number of grains of rice that would fill it were used for a weight measure. Thus, the pipe itself was often the property not of the imperial music department but of the office of weights and measurements.“ – Encyclopedia Britannica

By listening, one can find balance. It is a pillar for a healthy society or otherwise tends downwards towards chaos and subversion. Notes are both very stable but often highly malleable to create levels of tilt which is then again balanced with stability. Phrases feature milestone like finalities, often with a major subversion or distortion of any constant pulse. Harmony with nature. Often through-composed but with a slight return.

Javanese / Balinese / Sundanese Gamelan terms: Laras/ Irama / Balungan

Laras in Slendro:
1. panunggul (pn) 2. gulu (gl) 3. dhadha (dh) 4. lima (lm) 5. nem (nm)

Some interpret these as follows; 

1. panunggul = ‚head‘

2. gulu = ’neck‘

3. dhadha = ‚chest‘

4. lima = ‚hand1, ‚fingers‘

5. nem = (meaning unclear)

   The origin of the name “Dhong” (tonic) seems clearly onomatopoeiac

Sounds as notes  – free improvisation of the experimental European scene is often quite focused on timbral development. “Notes” as such are not the focus so that they tend to be reduced to being a platform for timbral activity. Here the metaphor is of instruments as gestural movement / acousmatic music. An expressionism akin to early modernism is at work; exhibited is a continuation, albeit a radical one, of the romantic ideal of music’s purity of expression without reference to any things outside of itself. The metaphor is therefore of mind, and science – the music is a tabula rasa upon which non-representational flows of personhood can become manifested and experienced. This is sometimes also described in terms of distributed cognition.

What other different smallest units of sound can we find in circulation?

Ultimately notes are of course at the service of a form. Forms have different (culturally attenuated) purposes which are correspondingly reflected in the note-metaphors. Therefore notes are vehicles to create an expanse of time which generates a widely-held notion of cultural meaning, music as social value however that is understood. The forms contain the affective units of the notes which are (almost always) neutral in meaning by themselves but in longer constructions begin to already give a semblance of form. Note essentializations listed above which are non-typical of Eurological musical approaches can be elaborated or built upon with other means.

Step 2) After identifying and acknowledging the idiomatic techniques that are linked to metaphorical thinking through close analysis, the techniques are pushed to extremes. The idiomatic techniques of the different players will be thematized as material or used in ways in which they were not originally intended. Ensemble members exchange their results between each other to imitate, emulate, learn and internalize. Transcriptions and notational symbols for the sounds are created and likewise exchanged for experimentation.

A) New “vocabularies” for relations:

Listening / further recording

Transcription / Notation

B) Radical reinterpretations:

Re-interpretation and reinvention of given pieces

Improvisation based on inter-metaphor

New forms based on deconstruction of given pieces

C) [not as of yet attempted] Listener group:

Music performance involving a (hand-picked) audience /public involving themselves in a revised listening process, rather than mere concert experience. That is, participation in social composition [e.g. see SILENT LISTEN by Ultra-red]. The hand-picked audience are musicologists, art theorists, critics, artists, scientists, academics, activists, social workers, cultural workers, and to a lesser degree musicians and sound artists. This listener group is involved with writing and discussions which preconditions they consider, what frames and informs the listening for them and they are asked provocative questions directed both at themselves and their musical reception / cognitions. The listening sessions will proceed in different sites both in and outside conventional concert venues.

The listener group hears individual sessions or presentations about them and gives feedback to how they hear sonic cultural stereotypes or nuance operating. The negative and the positive impressions and assumptions about the forms/sounds are analyzed for their attitudinal biases.

Metaphors and cultural archetypes creating differing wholes in various (displaced) levels of formal function and musical cognition are posited with sound / composition. A counterpoint using cognitive dissonance and “cognitive consonance” is developed (cognitive counterpoint [cc]). [footnote: As a part-model one may consider Charles Seeger’s system of dissonant counterpoint (see the training of Henry Cowell, Amy Seeger, also Christian Wolff etc.).] This cc – arising during the collapse or breaking of cognitive wholes – certainly can be well connected to, related to and extended together in tandem with the theories of musical empathy and ethics.

Also with the built-in listening processes cc is ultimately simultaneously a counterpoint of listener / performer „worlding“ (Haraway).  

Music making in differing contexts/instruments/(sub)cultures are listened to as sound art forms, where selves and antagonisms and cultural tropes are reinforced and reiterated, or on the other hand questioned and deconstructed. Underlying metaphors are brought into a congruent relation in the experimental and self-exploratory listening/production process of a small group to test best practices.

3) New metaphors, vocabularies

The ensemble will begin to catalogue, within it’s own member’s practices, various note- behavior to employ their own definitions and categories, as functional concepts or newly invented „modes“ within the group’s own compositional / improvisational / personal / methods to create new works based on them. To invent their own lists and categories of melodic/interpretive behavior-types and make group works that flow from them. Or create differing tone hierarchies, or indeed, create entirely new note names and musical vocabularies which develop certain imagined relations as the basis for new compositions. As a basis for this work active metaphors available among the different sonic typologies will be used, drawn from both the general musical field and from the players personal experiences.

New approaches to 1) listening/recording 2) transcription/notation 3) re-interpretation and recreation 4) improvising together and 5) devising new forms, are explored, based on the differing concepts of the „note“, both metaphorically and structurally, from various traditions in which the players are embedded through their musical training and backgrounds.

Metaphors are important for playing technique as it is the main way musicians invest themselves in musical concepts. Different certain core metaphors can be tried out in turn for their variable sound results, as mentioned or implied from the above discussion. These are described below as „[target] is [source]“ of the metaphor: