Scratch Music

Available for Special Order
Scratch Music

A classic text by a composer who believed that music is meant to be perceived by the eye as much as the ear.

Cornelius Cardew cofounded the Scratch Orchestra in 1969 with Howard Skempton and Michael Parsons. The orchestra was a culmination of the ideals expressed in Cardew's own innovative and experimental music through the 1960s. Scratch Music is a collection of the repertory the Scratch Orchestra created. Brought back into print with a new preface by John Harries and Sharon Gal, this reissued edition of a classic work makes a key title in sound studies available to new audiences.

Scratch Music is as much graphic and visual as it is musical and descriptive. After all, scratch music itself is meant to be perceived by the eye and all the senses--not just by ear--so the notation used in preparing the scores for performance might be be graphic, collage, verbal, or musical. The scores in Scratch Music are composed of written words, photographs, maps, graphs, diagrams, musical flow charts, conventional musical notation, whimsical drawings, playing cards, crossword puzzles, and other devices. Contemporary musicians, artists, and critics have long recognized both Cardew's music and this text as influential and significant. Scratch Music demonstrates the extraordinary richness of this particular compositional matrix, and gives the reader a sense of the excitement and creative vibrancy of a scratch music event.

Publication Date: 
May 19, 2020