Decolonizing the score: dialectical tensions in staff-base notation

Engagement activity: External performance, talk or presentationTalk for a mainly academic audience (e.g. at an academic conference)

Jaime Diaz (Speaker), May 2022 → …

This presentation went over the biases in staff-based notation and how they affect non-normative composers. I discuss my piano trio with Aztec death whistle, “congested history”, and discuss the Bhagwati spectrum of context dependent to contingent notation styles. Staff-based notation was developed with white male theorist and composers at the helm and although composers falling outside of the white male norm have always managed to find places for themselves in the classical music ecosystem, their works have frequently been marginalized, and they have been denied access to performances, financial supports, and recognition. These inequalities continue to affect composers
today, having material effects on underrepresented composers’ ability to survive financially. I will trace how western notation subverts my own experience as a queer Mexican and how I’ve sought to expand the score to make it inclusive of my life experiences and the challenges this makes for performers—yet another symptom of systemic racism whereby I am both encouraged and discouraged to compose simultaneously by economic and socio-political forces.

External organisation (Academic)

NameUniversity of Brighton
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom