Thursday, January 28, 2010

Minutes for the Open Theory Meeting, December 8, 2008

Minutes for the Open Theory Meeting, December 8, 2008
Submitted by Charlotte Wile - June 8, 2009

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

Present: Zack Brown, Oona Haaranen, Mira Kim, Mei-Chen Lu, Charlotte Wile.

1. Addenda for the Nov. 4 Meeting.
2. Zack's ICKL proposal.


1.2 Ann Guest's addenda

1.3 The group discussed Ann's addenda for the November 4, 2008 meeting. [Since Ann's addenda cover various topics, looking at the November 4 minutes as you read these December 8 minutes may be helpful.)

1.4 Note: In example labels, “Nov.” refers to the November 4 meeting, and “Dec.” refers to this (December 8) meeting. Blue is used for excerpts from the November 4 minutes, Red is used for the addenda, and Black is used for comments at this meeting.

1.5 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 1.6 it said:
Charlotte pointed out 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. She felt that could be confusing, since the supporting part is not always the part that produces the relationship (e.g., Nov. 1b). Ann agreed that the wording of that sentence may need to be changed to make it clearer. 

1.6 Addendum from Ann:
The timing is not taken from the shoulder. If the bird flies to the shoulder (or a ball drops into the hand), it should be the end of the bow for the parrot (or ball), not shoulder (or hand). The wording should be "...i.e., the supported part," (not supporting).

In responding to this addendum, the group reiterated some of what had been discussed at previous meetings. For instance, Charlotte said that at the last meeting Ann had clarified that timing in a relationship is taken from what establishes a relationship. This means that in a support relationship the timing may be taken from either the supported part (as in Dec.1a) or the supporting part (as in Dec.1b). 

1.8 To clarify how Dec. 1a should be interpreted, Mira wrote Dec. 1c. In this case the hand catches a bird at the end of arm movement (i.e., the timing is taken from the “bird end” of the bow). [Addendum from Mira and Charlotte: After the meeting we realized that the timing in1c is actually ambiguous. It could be read as the bird flies into the hand, in which case the bird produces the relationship and its end of the bow determines the timing. However, the notation might also be read as the hand grasps a bird (perhaps sitting in a tree). In that case the hand would produce the relationship, and its end of the bow determines the timing, i.e., the grasp occurs before the end of the arm movement upward. Or perhaps both the hand and the bird produce the relationship. We agreed that probably the best thing to do in this situation would be to just use the flat support bow.]

1.9 As at previous meetings, the pros and cons of the bow in Dec. 1a were discussed. For instance, Zack felt that even though there is a rule for interpreting the timing of Dec. 1b, the notation is confusing because it goes against the overall rule in Labanotation that says symbol's placement on the page determines its timing. Other people in the group agreed that there sometimes is a timing issue with the bow, however, they feel the bow is useful because it shows visually what is supporting and what is supported.

1.10 Mei asked if the timing in Dec.1d and Dec.1e is the same. 

1.11 Charlotte: According to what Ann said at the last meeting, timing is taken from what establishes the relationship. In Dec. 1d and 1e the hips establish the relationship, therefore the timing for Dec. 1d and 1e is the same.

1.12 Mei asked if timing for the relationship bows is different in Labanotation and Motif Notation.

Charlotte said she feels the timing of the bows in Motif Notation is usually more general than in L/N. [For instance, in Your Move (2008), page 533, it says the examples shown here in Dec. 1f and 1g give the same message. In the November meeting there seemed to be some disagreement about how placement of a bow would affect timing in L/N.]

1.14 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 1.19 it said:
Charlotte: Janos's examples point out an issue that occurs when either unit timing or exact timing is used. This has to do with where the bow is placed. For instance, in Janos's Ex. 2 it is placed above the knee sign. In Ex. 3 it is below the knee sign. 

1.15 Addendum from Ann:
The hand gives the timing, so it does not matter where the bow ends at the knee sign.

Charlotte: Yes, my statement was confusing. For a discussion of placement of the bows I should have used different examples.

1.17 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 1.28 it said:
Charlotte wondered if Janos's Ex. 2 might be preferable because the bow comes at the end of the knee sign, i.e., it more clearly shows that the support occurs at the end of the movement

1.18 Addendum from Ann:
There is no support involved, (just a typing slip?)

1.19 Charlotte: Yes, Ann is correct. The sentence should say… “the touch occurs at the end of the movement.”

1.20 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 1.35 it said:
Leslie: However, we teach that the timing comes from the ends of the bow. Ann illustrated this with dashed lines, as in Nov. 1l, 1n, 1m.

1.21 Mei showed another way the issue could be handled, by drawing the hand sign in a different place, as in 1o, 1p, 1q. 

1.22 Addendum from Ann:
How are Exs. 1o) - 1q) different from 1l) - 1n)? I expect the drawings should be different for 1o) - 1q).

1.23 To show the difference, at this (December 8) meeting, Charlotte put the examples in staffs. In Dec.1h-j the hand sign is in the same location on the staff. In Dec.1k-1m the hand signs have been moved; the bow is in same place on the staff.

1.24 Mira pointed out that Dec.1j is the same as Dec. 1k, 1l, and 1m.

1.25 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 2.3 it said:
Ann said that one could make a case for both ways of writing. On the one hand, one could say that the forward direction is the movement, and the stretch sign is the modifier, so the inclusion bow only needs to be the length of the forward sign, as in Ex. 2a. However, if one sees the forward sign and the stretching sign as one indication, then the inclusion bow should be written as in 2b. [See Nov. 2a and Nov. 2b below.]

1.26 Addendum from Ann:
"Ann said ........the stretch sign is the modifier included in the timing, (add) so the inclusion bow only needs to be the length of the forward sign." One could argue that way, but I agree with the longer inclusion bow.

1.27 Everyone at this (December 8) meeting felt the longer bow should be used.

1.28 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 2.14 it said:
Sandra: Vertical bows denote timing, so 2a and 2b make different statements. Also, earlier in the meeting we said that pre-signs are included in the timing of an indication [see 1r above]. Therefore, in 2a the the inclusion starts a split second after the movement going forward and stretching begins.

1.29 Addendum from Ann:
Sandra's wording for 2a): "....the inclusion starts slightly after the movement forward..." "A split second" is too quick for the notation drawn.

Ann's addendum for Par. 2.14 was not discussed.
1.31 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 3.10 it said:
Leslie explained the rule. Body holds last until they are specifically cancelled, whereas space holds only apply to the symbol they modify.

1.32 Addendum from Ann:
What people need to realize is that, if a body hold is used it is physically possible to maintain it while other movement is happening. Whereas this is not true of a space hold. This is why its validity applies to the symbol that it is modifying. Take as an example a backward tilt of the head, retain it as you bend this way and that, maybe uncomfortable, but possible. Put a space hold on that backward tilt and it soon becomes impossible for the head to retain that spatial direction as the torso make large tilting movements. For me this is a good reason to keep the original "carry along" rule.
1.33 Ann's addendum for Nov. 4, Par. 3.10 was not discussed.

1.34 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 4.1 it said:
Topic #4 - Use of space signs with diamonds to show distance of leg gestures from the floor.

1.35 Addendum from Ann:
A question of terminology: the diamond is the space indication, it refers to spatial aspects. The X and N (wide) signs are measurement (distance) signs. A change in terminology seems to have crept in, this can be confusing, perhaps you can find out how this happened?

1.36 Mira said she thinks most people call the X and N signs “distance” signs. Charlotte agreed that she had made a mistake when she called them space signs.

1.37 Zack said he thinks a lot of terms in Labanotation are arbitrary. He does not feel that terminology is really a part of Labanotation. It just is what people use when they are talking about L/N concepts. Terminology can change, but the score will remain the same. However, it might make sense to change terms when it would L/N clearer.

1.38 Charlotte said she feels it is important to try to use correct terms when one writes or talks about L/N. For instance, in this case the concepts of “space” and “distance” (measurement) may overlap, but they are not the same thing. Words can be very powerful and can cause problems when they are unclear or not used properly. E.g., the terms for Effort have connotations that are sometimes confusing [e.g., “Indirect Effort”]. Some terms used in LMA have a different meaning in L/N and Motif Notation. Take the word “directional.” In LMA it is used for a type of Shape Mode. In L/N it is often used when talking about a direction (see for example, p.12 in Labanotation, 4th edition).

1.39 Mei gave another example: the use of the terms “facing pin” and “front sign.”

1.40 Mira said the L/N texts are not consistent in the use of those terms.

1.41 Everyone felt it would be very useful to identify where there are inconsistencies and misuse of terminology.

1.42 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 4.21 - 4.23 it said:
Mei: Does 4i mean the legs are close to each other or the jump is close to the ground?
Sandra: Would this relate to the height of the jump or the distance of the legs from place?
Ann: If you want the distance of the legs from place, then you could use the lateral signs (4j).

1.43 Addendum from Ann:
In Ex. 4i) the x signs should be in a diamond. The wording above should refer to "...the lateral spreading or closing in signs, 4j) shows closing in.

1.44 Ex. 4i) and 4j) do NOT say the same thing, or they should not. Because - we need two separate, distinct descriptions: distance of a gesture from the floor; and distance of separation. Maria Szentpal pointed out years ago that we had only one usage, ex. 4e) to take care of both, whereas in different configurations, different movements, one or the other may be needed. Describing the height of a jump (a spring) does not tell the reader what the aim is.

1.45 In response to Ann's “diamond” addendum, the group went over some of the same material that had been discussed at the Nov. 4 meeting. There continued to be some disagreement about whether the measurement sign inside a diamond is needed. For instance, Mira said the problem of how to show that the legs are close to the ground in a jump can be solved by using a path sign to show the height of the jump.

1.46 [Addendum from Charlotte: I feel that using a path sign would not always convey the intent of the movement. There is a difference between stating that the body goes up in the air a short distance (Dec.1n), and the legs are close to the ground (Dec.4o).]

1.47 Mei wondered if such close attention to intent isn't more important for Motif Notation than Labanotation.

1.48 Oona said she liked that what Ann had said in the November meeting about the importance of paying attention to intent. Oona feels it is important to think about what is being expressed by the movement, rather than just focusing on its quantitative content. When we a teaching Labanotation, how can we make the leap between teaching Labanotation theory and conveying it is about expression and movement?

1.49 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 5.7, it said:
Ann said Knust did not conceive of the indication as nonswiveling, he just used it to show the pattern of the movement. She isn't sure when the idea of swiveling and nonswiveling came into the picture. At any rate, Ann has never been happy with having the distinction made through the signs in 5a and 5b. She feels the swiveling and nonswiveling aspects of the movement should be handled in some other manner. If it matters that the movement is nonswiveling, then something could be added to the notation. She has suggested some ideas, but none of them have stuck. [Addendum from Charlotte: I would be interested in hearing more about those ideas. Perhaps Ann could share them at a future meeting. I also would be curious to see examples in scores or elsewhere where it is necessary to indicate the path is nonswiveling].

1.50 Addendum from Ann:
This question of swivel or non-swivel needs to be gone into thoroughly. What is the best description for the basic action taking place? When is swivel or non-swivel important? When it is important then an additional indication can be used. The question is: how are these additional indications shown? I went into this quite some time ago and need to look up what was put forward then. Work for the future!

1.51 Ann's addendum for Nov. Par. 5.7 was not discussed.

1.52 In the Nov. 4 minutes, Par. 5.9, it said:
Charlotte asked if there was a consensus about whether 5a should be in the system. Should it be discarded and never used? If 5b is used, does it need to be glossarized?
1.53 Addendum from Ann:
5b is a logical combination of existing signs, already in use; there should be no need to glossarize.

1.54 Ann's addendum for Nov. 5.9 was not discussed.

1.55 Sheila's addendum.

1.56 Sheila Marion also sent the following addendum. Unfortunately, it was not received in time for it to be discussed at this (Dec 8) meeting.

1.57 In the November 4 minutes, Par. 3.4, it said,
"In other words, in Labanotation, if nothing was written it was assumed that there was a body hold and the arms would move with the body. In Kinetography, if nothing was written it was assumed that there was a space hold and the arms would retain their direction in space."

1.58 Sheila's addendum:
“It's my understanding that KIN doesn't assume a space hold; rather that a direction written according to the standard cross is retained according to the standard cross. A conceptual difference that doesn't really affect the outcome, but important to acknowledge the thinking, I think.”

2.2 Following up on the discussion of standardization at the November 4 meeting, Zack presented his idea for a new organization for ICKL. His chart outlining his proposal is shown below.

2.3 Zack said ICKL would remain basically the same as it is now. People would go to ICKL conferences and present their papers and suggestions. However, they would be presenting to a much smaller 8 person standards body that would makes its own deliberations. The standards body would consist of top notation experts.

2.4 Anyone in the world could participate, and anyone who attended could submit their own comments about papers. After the presentations, all papers and comments would be submitted to the standards body. The standards body, using their greater expertise, would probe deeper into the material to see what needs are being identified by the papers and presentations. They may decide that there is a better or more elegant way to address the needs being expressed by the larger body. Periodically the standards body would produce a full, written description of the system that would be the standard until the next standard came out.

2.5 Each time a new version of the standard came out, it would be the result of all of the ideas that had been presented by everyone at the conference. Anyone in the world writing a score would know what ways they would be deviating from a given version of the standard. People would be free to follow the standard or not. After a time, the standards body would be able to see what deviations and new developments were taking place in scores, and that would provide them with information in writing the next standard.

2.6 Zack feels that this model would enhance the development of the system because it would consider overall trends in the system, in contrast to the present structure which produces piecemeal changes.

2.7 Mei wondered what ways Zack's model differs from the present structure. For instance, isn't the ICKL research committee equivalent to the standard's body in his model?

2.8 Zack replied that the present ICKL and his idea for ICKL are indeed very similar. However, in his model there is no voting, and the standards body would periodically produce a full description of the system.

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