Thursday, January 28, 2010

Minutes for the Open Theory Meeting, October 8, 2008

Minutes for the Open Theory Meeting, October 8, 2008
Submitted by Charlotte Wile - April 13, 2009

[Following are minutes for the Open Theory Meeting held at the Dance Notation Bureau, October 2008. The minutes were written by Charlotte Wile.]

Present: Sandra Aberkalns, Mira Kim, Mei-Chen Lu, Charlotte Wile.

1. Agenda for the November 4, 2008 meeting.
2. Support bows.

Topic #1 - Agenda for the November 4, 2008 Meeting

On November 4 there will be a theory meeting with Ann Hutchinson Guest. The group discussed a possible agenda for the meeting. Ann may have items that she wants to discuss. If there is time, we could also talk about other issues. The group made a list of some topics they felt might be of interest. Page numbers in the list are from Guest, Labanotation, 4th edition.

1) Page 154. The use of an “x” inside a diamond to show distance of the leg gesture from the floor.

2) Page 236. Cancelation of a body hold when the limbs are carried during torso tilts.

3) Page 436, Ex. 780a, 780b. Is there still a use for 780a that is different from 780b?

4) Page 435, Ex. 774b. Should the inclusion bow be drawn longer, i.e., so it is the same length of the as the stretch and forward signs combined? Similarly, on page 353, “Forward Fall,” measure two, should the first bow in the sliding indication for the leg be drawn next to the stretching sign? (See the end of topic #2 below.)

5) What is the history of the support bow that has one slanted line going up and one going down (See topic #2 below)?

Topic #2 - Support Bows

Charlotte asked for clarification on timing for support bows. What part of the indication shows when the support occurs? For instance, in 1a the placement of the hand sign (the supported part) shows the timing of the support. Does this mean that the bird in 1b shows the timing since it is the supported part?

Sandra said timing can sometimes be problematic with the type of support bow shown in 1a. For this reason, the bow in 1c is often used. In 1c the signs for the relaters would be on the same level in the notation, so there is no timing issue. On the other hand, 1a has the advantage of showing visually what is being supported and what is supporting. Each bow has its advantages and disadvantages, depending upon the circumstances. 

Sandra: To show which relater is active, the bow can be modified, as in 1d. For instance, 1d would show that the boy's hand is below, and the girl's hand is above.

Charlotte asked if thickening one side of the bow, as in 1e, could be used to show the active relater.

Sandra said she feels 1e should not be used in Labanotation. Rather, other information on the bows and the staff should be used instead to show what is active. [Addendum from Charlotte: The thickened support bow in 1e is given in Guest, Labanotation, 4th edition, page 295.] 

Charlotte said that in Motif Notation thickening the bow to show an active part is useful when other information is not relevant and therefore should not be in the notation.

Charlotte: In 1e the thickened end of the bow depicts what is “active” in the relationship. Does “active” mean the part that is supported or supporting?

Mira: In touching relationships the part that moves to do the touching is the “active” part. In support relationships the “active” part could be the part that is supporting or supported, depending upon the context of the movement.

Charlotte pointed that in Labanotation, 4th edition, page 295, it says, “If there is doubt as to the active, i.e., the supporting part, the end of the angular bow can be thickened on that side.” This statement seems to be saying that the supporting part is the active part.

At this point in the discussion there seemed to be a consensus that this rule is not what is always practiced in LN. Rather, the active part in a support can be determined from the context of the movement.

Mei reiterated what had been said previously, that pins or other modifiers in the bow would always tell which is the active part.

Mira said that placement on the staff could help show what is active, e.g., the symbol for the active relater is put inside the staff.

Sandra said 1f would be a way to show which part is above in a touch. Mira said someone told her that 1f is an old way of writing. Shouldn't the pin be inside the bow, as in 1g? Sandra replied that she feels the pin can be put wherever there is room.

Charlotte asked if it is the sign for the relater that shows the timing of the support (rather than the end of the bow).

Sandra replied that it is the end of the bow that shows the timing.

Charlotte: But doesn't this present a problem because the bow can be placed in different places in relation to the bow, e.g., as in 1h-j?

Sandra: Ex. 1h is what one would usually write. Ex. 1i is “messy writing.” Ex. 1j would never be used.

Mei wondered why 1h would be preferable. Sandra said because one writes from the bottom up, and the bow in 1h visually shows that the support happens at the end.

Mira pointed out that freedom in placement of the bows is sometimes necessary, as in 1k.

In starting positions placement does not matter since there is no timing in starting positions. However, as a side issue, Sandra pointed out that Lucy Venable feels that facing signs should be written in line with the bottom of starting position signs, whereas Sandra likes to place them just before the initial double bar line. Everyone felt that placement of indications in the starting position can vary depending upon what makes the notation clear.

Sandra said the problem of timing for the type of support bow in 1a has not been addressed in the texts because it is “such a can of worms.” She said there are almost no examples of the bow in Knust, and it has not been specifically discussed in ICKL. Mei found one example in Knust, Dictionary of Kinetography Laban, 1979, Ex. 457b-d (shown here in 1l). 

When did idea for the support bow in1a come into use? Perhaps Ann will be able to give a history of the sign when she is here in November.

Charlotte pointed out that in Motif Notation the support bow in 1a is used to show unspecified weight transference, as in 1m (i.e., a movement that ends in a support). Perhaps the same idea could be written as in 1n, but that looks too much like the sign for stepping on the right foot (1o).

The discussion returned to the issue of the “active part” showing the timing of the support. At this point in the discussion some people in the group felt that the active part is the one that is “supporting.” They defined “supporting” as the part that takes weight and does the holding. Charlotte said that that rule and definition would not always work. For instance, 1p does follow that rule; the shoulder is the supporting part, so it shows the timing. However, in 1q, isn't the chair the supporting part? Following the rule, does this mean the timing in 1q should be taken from the chair sign? No! The hips (the supported part) show the timing. The rest of the group did not agree with Charlotte's reasoning. They felt that there is no inconsistency between the two examples, and they would be read correctly. [Addendum from Charlotte: After watching the DVD of the meeting, I think the other people in the group thought I was confused about which part of the indication shows what is supported, and which part shows what is supporting. That is clear to me. What I don't understand is why the supporting part (the shoulder) shows timing in 1p, whereas the supported part (the hips) shows timing in 1q].

The use of the bows in Labanotation and Motif Notation was discussed. Everyone agreed that the rules of usage for bows may need to be different in the two subscripts. For instance, as stated above, the use of pins and other details that are used in Labanotation to show the active part might make a Motif Notation score too detailed. Thus, there is a need for the thickened bow in Motif Notation.

As a related side issue, Mira said that in Labanotation, 4th edition, the placement of sliding bows does not always seem correct. For instance, sliding is sometimes drawn as exemplified here in 1r. Does this mean the sliding does not refer to the whole movement (i.e., there is some stretching before the sliding begins)? Similarly, sometimes inclusion bows are drawn as exemplified here in 1s. Shouldn't the inclusion bow be longer, [as in 1t]? 

Note from Charlotte: We continued to discuss bows a little longer, however the DVD I used to help write the minutes did not record the end of the meeting. I can't remember what we talked about very well, so I am not including that part of the meeting in the minutes.

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