Circular Graphic Scores: Between Time and Space

Marina Buj Corral


Located between artistic categories, graphic scores use elements of visual language to represent musical sounds. Since the origin of graphical notation in the middle of the twentieth century, circular graphic scores play an important role in composers’ creations. Despite this fact, there is a lack of specific studies on the subject. This article aims to provide some clues and conceptual elements for understanding “how the circle sounds”. Through a comparative study between the circular shape and its musical performance in some of the most relevant circular works of last decades, it has been found that frequently circular notation corresponds to musical structures of cyclic and repetitive nature. Moreover, circular scores allow incorporating elements of openness in interpretation, such as the duration of the work, the choice of reading direction or starting point. Circular scores advantage the analysis of the musical structure of the piece and provide flexibility to interpretation. In addition, they show that spatiality is a condition of music, as well as temporality.


graphic scores; circle; musical graphic; music; contemporary art; synesthesia


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BRAC - Barcelona Research Art Creation | ISSN: 2014-8992

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