Musical Instruments as Scores: A Hybrid Approach

The development of new approaches to instrumentality during the decade of 1960 contributed to the dual perception of instruments as scores. For many performers, the instrument became the score of what they played. This artistic hybridization carries substantial questions about the nature of our scores and about the relationships among instruments, performers and musical works. This paper contextualizes the historical origins of this instrumental development within Drucker’s theory of performative materiality. Then we examine the nature and notational scheme of this type of scores making use of the concept of inherent score. Finally, through the analysis of two examples (tangible scores and choreographic objects) and the notions of affordance and constraint, a compositional framework for shaping the inherent instrument score is presented.