Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
The glissando as it is deployed in Western art music notation carries with it a number of challenges to the hegemony of traditional harmony, rhythm, and notation. The glissando embodies the smooth line, unlike the striated pitch-time space of traditional Western music, which aligns the glissando to many philosophical concepts, as well as mathematical, scientific, and architectural disciplines. Select works by Iannis Xenakis, James Tenney and Giacinto Scelsi are discussed for their development of glissandi as integral formal components, especially around the glissando’s tendency to encourage stasis. Compositional attempts to combine the nature of glissandi with drone in the author’s own work are described, providing an examination of examples of the way glissandi and related concepts can be notated formally, rather than decoratively, in musical works.
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