The Shapereader Chorus workshop from artists Maria Arnal and Ilan Manouach is an experiment on how a tactile communication system (Shapereader) can be used as an alternative to graphic musical notation through the use of touch and participants' voices.
The workshop starts with the union between the Ilan Manouach-created Shapereader tactile communication system, and the vocal research carried out by singer and composer Maria Arnal. Is it possible to imagine an alternative system for musical notation? Up to what point can this system of notation engage with a diversified, non-normative experience? Could this be an opportunity for experimentation with sound that allows for the inclusion of other diverse bodies (with blindness or reduced vision) and non-hegemonic sensory experiences (touch and amateurs) in the process of musical composition and interpretation?
Graphic notation is the representation of music through the use of visual symbols, outside the realm of traditional musical notation (staves, etc.). Composers often use graphic notation when standard musical notation may be inefficient, for example when seeking out the random or undetermined effects of a performer's improvised actions.
Procedure: the group will receive a collection of pieces with different geometric etchings, and will learn how to collectively identify the various forms. Once the group's sense of touch is activated, they will assign sound objects or instructions to the various forms in order to produce sound, creating a connection between shape and sound. At the end of the workshop, a tactile score based on a small, unique dictionary of terms and concepts will be produced around sound objects that can be interpreted through voice and touch.