It is like stumbling across an alien manuscript, something unearthly and beautifully rendered, but incomprehensible. Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise has been. Graphic Scores from “Treatise” by Cornelius Cardew Cornelius Cardew ( – ) was a British music composer, who worked as an. Treatise [Score] – Cornelius Cardew PDF [35Mb] ‘Treatise is a graphic musical.

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Treatise (music)

We worked regularly over a long period of time, ending up with a 2-hour version of the piece Connected with this is the proposition that improvisation cannot be rehearsed. Cardew has noticed that well trained musicians that can over-interpret the work Treatise in the sense that they might attempt to literally read the score in a method as close as possible to a reading of standard western notation.

Simplicity is highlighted as the most appealing virtue. Treatise handbook, including Bun no. Not so sure I like it much, but, if “every honest utterance makes sense” Cardewit certainly has its place here along with Kotik’s squeaking trumpet played with a bassoon reed and bouncing ping pong balls.

Treatise is a graphic cornleius score comprising pages of lines, symbols, and various geometric or abstract shapes that largely eschew conventional musical notation. Compositions by Cornelius Cardew compositions. The composition should be improvised by any number of performers on their choice of instruments or non-instruments and the score should be used as a guide to the performance. It is apparently only meant to indicate that the graphic elements are musical, not coenelius artistic, in character.


However, he says that graphic artists and mathematicians may be more prepared to creatively interpret the score although they may have less capability controlling a musical instrument and producing their desired sound.

Treatise (music) – Wikipedia

Identification with nature is similar to preparedness. However, Cardew allows resemblances to occur only as a reminder of the works musicality.

You ask Keith Rowe. Remember that no meaning is yet attached to the symbols. The score is not accompanied by any explicit instructions to the performers in how to perform the work, or what sound-producing means are to be used.

Treatise Handbook

He states the implicit contradiction in attempting to describe a piece of work that treahise been constructed in order to remain open to interpretation. This page graphic score, which occupied the composer for four years, and which performers are encouraged to interpret any way they feel appropriate though useful tips abound in the Treatise Handbook Cardew published in is rich, elusive and thought-provoking enough to keep you busy for a lifetime.

Although the score allows for absolute interpretive freedom no one codnelius will sound like anotherthe work is not normally played spontaneously, as Cardew had previously suggested that performers devise in advance their own rules and methods for interpreting and performing the work.

He goes on to describe improvisation as a relationship between performer, audience and music that is lodged within the time-span of vornelius performance.


It was written in stages over a period of four years and completed in Any number of musicians using any media are free to participate in a ‘reading’ of this score Animated electronic realization of “Treatise” by Shawn Feeney. Treatise is a musical composition by British composer Cornelius Cardew — They began using many other instruments and non-instruments, resonant objects made from glass, metal and wood.

This historical recording offers a unique perspective to hear Treatise as interpreted by Cardew’s contemporaries.

Learn how your comment data is processed. Curiously, Cardew did not withdraw Treatise from publication despite his repudiation.

However, some justification is made by the fact that Cardew has the opportunity to publish two scores within this book and the lecture Towards an ethic of improvisation. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

Concerning Temporality in Music: Treatise & Treatise Handbook, by Cornelius Cardew

However, a simplistic musical expression must also subtly express how it was achieved. Views Read Edit View history. This kind of thing happens in improvisation. The chapter entitled Treatise: He describes his experimentation as a member of the improvisatory group AMM.