Thursday, January 28, 2010

Minutes for the Open Theory Meeting, November 4, 2008

Minutes for the Open Theory Meeting, November 4, 2008
Submitted by Charlotte Wile - June 2, 2009

Following are minutes for the Open Theory Meeting held at the Dance Notation Bureau, November 4, 2008. After reading a first draft of the minutes, Ann Guest and Sheila Marion e-mailed addenda. The addenda are shown in red.

Present: Sandra Aberkalns, Tina Curran, Ann Hutchinson Guest, Zack Brown, Ray Cook, Oona Haaranen, Mira Kim, Dawn Lille, Mei-Chen Lu, Loren Odynocki, Leslie Rotman, Lynne Weber Charlotte Wile.

1. Relationship bows.
2. Length of modifying bows.
3. Cancelation of a body hold sign when the limbs are carried during torso tilts.
4. Use of space signs with diamonds to show distance of leg gestures from the floor.
5. Signs for turning on a straight path.

1.1 Topic #1 - Relationship bows.

1.2 Charlotte: Relationship bows, especially the timing of support bows, were discussed at the October 8, 2008 meeting. One question the group had concerned the history of the bow shown here in 1a. Where did it come from?

1.3 Ann: The bow appears first in Knust, Abriss der Kinetographie Laban, 1956, Ex. 540.

1.4 Ann: The timing of the bow is taken from the “active” part, i.e., what produces the relationship. For instance, in kneeling on the floor, the active part would be the knee since it moved to make the relationship.

1.5 Charlotte gave an example in which this rule may not work. In 1b the bird is the active part (it moves to produce the relationship). However, the timing is taken from the shoulder.

1.6 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. Charlotte felt that could be confusing, since the supporting part is not always the part that produces the relationship (e.g., 1b). Ann agreed that the wording of that sentence may need to be changed to make it clearer.

1.7 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).

1.8 Ray thought drawing the bow as in 1a might have been put into use because sometimes that makes it easier to keep the bow from interfering with other symbols on the staff. But then problems started to arise with timing, as in 1b.

1.9 Ann said she likes 1a because it shows what is being supported and what is supporting. However, it does sometimes have timing problems. When timing might be an issue, the flat bow (1c above) can be used.

1.10 The flat bow can be modified to show the active part [e.g., with thickening, as in 1d, or with other modifiers, as in 1e]. 

1.11 Leslie recalled that when Jane Marriett was teaching she would encourage her students to use the flat bow to avoid the timing problems associated with 1a. With the flat bow the supporter and supportee are on the same level on the page, so there isn't any question about when the relationship occurs.

1.12 Leslie said she prefers using 1a before the initial double bar line. She also sometimes uses it within the staff when timing is not an issue.

1.13 Sandra: In practice most people will not look that closely at the timing. What they want to see is what is supporting and what is supported. Most people are not aware of the timing issues being discussed here and consequently will not have a problem with reading 1a.

1.14 Ray: When symbols are given different meanings in different scores it can be very confusing. One cannot assume that the reader will know how to interpret the symbol unless it has a standardized meaning.

1.15 Following is an excerpt from an e-mail Janos Fugedi's sent Charlotte concerning the October 2008 minutes:
1.16 “You [Charlotte] pointed out a real and important problem of the system. I use the support bow very, very rarely, and somehow I solve the timing issue, usually as in your Fig. 1c (shown here as Ex. 1).

1.17 But we very frequently face a similar problem to the one you raised for a contact bow, when it indicates a leg hit, as in example 2 (I used specific or exact timing). The right hand slaps on the right leg below the knee. The touch is indicated by the bow, the force by an accent sign (we use a straight one, like Knust, not a curved one as AHG), and the "uneven" bow arrives on the joint sign. Our convention (introduced by Maria Szenpal) is that the hand end always shows the timing - the hit is performed on count 2 (the dotted line is just for guiding the eye). The movement could be written as in example 3, where the bow clearly shows the timing. But somehow this usage was dropped, perhaps because in the case of short timing there were problems in placing the joint sign.”

1.18 Sandra pointed out that Janos was using exact timing in his examples, which may influence how the bows are drawn. She felt that writing the notation with conventional unit timing would make it unnecessary to draw the bow as in Ex. 2.

1.19 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.

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

1.21 Ann: Janos's Ex. 2 and Ex. 3 both say the same thing. Both methods of writing would be acceptable.

1.22 Leslie said she has never seen the bow drawn as in Janos's Ex. 2 or come across a situation in which it would be needed.

1.23 Ray: Perhaps the method of drawing the support bow as in 1a could be used for touch bows, e.g., as in 1f. If there is a rule for one symbol, it should be applicable for other symbols.

1.24 Ann: Ex. 1f might be useful if the other symbols on the staff make it difficult to clearly draw the standard touch bow.

1.25 Ray: Maybe the same idea could be applied to the address bow, as in 1g.

1.26 Ann replied that the flat support bow (1c) does not show what is supporting and what is supported. In contrast, the standard addressing bow [1h] shows what is addressing (the sign by line) and what is addressed (the sign in the curve). Therefore, 1g is not needed.

1.27 Sandra: To get around the problem of crowded staffs, the staff can be expanded so bows can be drawn beyond other symbols where they will be clearly seen.

1.28 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.

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

1.30 Addendum from Charlotte: Ann is correct. The sentence should say… “the touch occurs at the end of the movement.”

1.31 Sandra: On the other hand, in Janos's Ex. 2 we don't know what comes after the touch. It's possible that the subsequent notation might make Ex. 2 harder to read than Ex. 3. Decisions about placement and drawing the bow come down to expedience and context. This is why we need flexibility for these symbols.

1.32 The discussion of bow placement continued. Is there a difference in timing in 1i, 1j, or 1k?

1.33 Ray pointed out that joint signs by themselves have no timing. Consequently, there is no difference in timing for 1i, 1j, and 1k. The relationship bow can be next to any part of the hand sign.

1.34 Leslie: However, we teach that the timing comes from the ends of the bow. Ann illustrated this with dashed lines, as in 1l, 1n, 1m. 
1.35 Mei showed another way the issue could be handled, by drawing the hand sign in a different place, as in 1o, 1p, 1q.

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

1.37 Addendum from Charlotte: The examples below show 1l-1q placed on staffs. I hope this shows the difference between the examples. 

1.38 Dawn wasn't sure if Mei's idea would always work. If the touching occurs exactly on count 2, but the hand sign is drawn before count 2, wouldn't that be confusing?

1.39 Sandra: In reality the hand sign is so small (one square, or 1/32 of an inch) that its placement won't make any difference. Context will make the timing clear.

1.40 Zack: In 1r the movement begins at the bottom of the hand sign. So shouldn't the timing begin at the bottom of the hand sign in indications such as 1l-1q?

1.41 Lynne: In Ex. 1r, the hand acts as a pre-sign. The hand and forward sign together constitute the indication. In the relationship inductions the hand sign by itself does not have timing.

1.42 Charlotte: The relationship indication shows what happens at the end of a movement, e.g., as in 1s.

1.43 Charlotte: Last meeting Mira gave an example, shown here in 1t, in which bow placement varies. (The staffs represent two different movers.). How does this affect what we have been saying about timing, since the ends of the bows are in different places?

1.44 Ann said the timing would be clear if the bows were drawn with the ends on the same level [as in 1u].

1.45 Mira: Ex. 1t came up last week because the group was considering whether in 1t it is actually the body part signs that show where the timing occurs.

1.46 At this meeting Ann and Sandra said that having the body part signs show the timing would just bring up other problems.

1.47 Leslie: If you want the notation to be very exact and specific, then you would need to line up the end of the bows, because that is the rule [1u]. However, in reality, when the notation is being read, it probably doesn't matter.

1.48 Ann said that if one is using unit timing, which is more general, then 1t would be OK. If specific timing is used, then 1u would be what should be written.

1.49 Leslie said when she was taught the concept of unit timing, it was not applied to bows. Rather, it was just used with direction signs. As she understands it, the ends of bows denote specific timing.

1.50 Sandra: However, in writing scores the rules do not have to always be applied so exactly. There is a rule that says the bow has timing, but there are minor deviations from that rule that can be taken in a score. When everything else in the score comes together, you will not misread it.

1.51 Ann: In the old days, when we attached a foot hook to a leg gesture symbol, it didn't matter where you put the hook. It could be put at the beginning, middle, or end, and the indication was read as “one thing.” Then we took over Knust's idea of placement, which we felt gave the notation much more specificity. The placement of the hook gives the timing. This lead to the idea of having specific timing for relationship bows.

1.52 Dawn said she felt there are two things at stake in terms of the rule. One is what written or read in a score. The other is how you teach it. When the rule is taught, there needs to be an explanation for it. What explanation would one give for how relationships are notated?

1.53 This led to a discussion of standardization.

1.54 Charlotte said she was concerned that too much freedom in deviating from “rules” could be confusing. Fifty or one hundred years from now people will go to the Labanotation text to learn how to interpret scores. They will probably assume that scores are written according to the rules given in the text. If the notator deviates from a rule and didn't say that in a glossary, it is possible that the notation will be misinterpreted. How does one balance the need for standardization with the need in some scores for freedom in writing?

1.55 Zack said that sometimes people think of standardization as something that locks the system. In other words, there is a standard, and no deviation is allowed. Zack has a different idea about standardization. He comes from the “open source” world where people write software that adheres, to a greater or lesser extent, to a standard that exits. The standards are modified over time to accommodate what is happening in the world. He feels that standards are not something that lock the system. Rather, standards provide a point of deviation for “unlocking” the system. As he sees it, currently the only real points of deviation in Labanotation are the textbooks. ICKL materials state changes that have been made in the system, but Zack does not feel they give the type of information needed for a person who wants to learn Labanotation.

1.56 Ray: The American constitution is an example of how to think about standardization. The constitution and the way it is interpreted have evolved over time.

1.57 Charlotte: Likewise, as dance evolves or changes, our notation system may need to evolve to accommodate those changes.

1.58 Tina said that as notation evolves, context needs to be considered. For instance, what is the purpose of the notation? Is it for students learning notation, is it to document a dance to preserve it, etc.?

1.59 Ray: When we teach elementary notation we often do not teach the “true rules” for a given concept, because that would be too difficult for the students to understand. We teach the basic idea, but leave out the exceptions to that idea. Then as we go on to more advanced levels, we revise and enlarge upon what was taught, and fill in with the “truth” about the rules.

1.60 Ann: If necessary, one can always clarify how a score should be interpreted, e.g., one could state whether precise or general timing is being used.

1.61 Charlotte: Thank goodness for glossaries. In past theory meetings Ann suggested that we should put together a book of glossaries from various scores. Others in the group said this would be a good idea.

1.62 Ray: Glossaries often have solutions that can't be found in the textbooks.

1.63 Lynne: The upcoming manual of requirements for scores will contain many examples from glossaries.

1.64 [Note: The manual is still being edited and is not yet ready for publication.]

2.1 Topic # 2- Length of modifying bows.

2.2 Charlotte: This topic came up at the last meeting. Labanotation, 4th edition gives the example shown here in 2a. The group at that meeting wondered what timing should be given to the inclusion bow. If the inclusion refers to the whole movement, shouldn't it be drawn as in 2b?

2.3 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.

2.4 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.

2.5 Ray: The movement starts at the beginning of the indication, i.e., at the bottom of the stretch sign.

2.6 Leslie: As Mickey [Muriel Topez] would say, “Get up and do it.” You need to understand what is happening physically. I understand the logic of 2a, but I would write it as 2b.

2.7 Charlotte: Why not write it as 2b? It is so clear.

2.8 Ray: 2a raises a question. Couldn't it be read with the inclusion occurring a moment after the movement forward begins?

2.9 Charlotte: The argument for 2a is based on the idea that stretching is a modification of the forwardness. Is that true? As I see it, both the stretching and going forward are integral aspects of the movement. They are equally important.

2.10 Everyone agreed that in 2c the inclusion begins _ way through the movement. In 2d both the inclusion and the stretching begin _ way through the movement.

2.11 Do the arguments Ann gave for the inclusion bow apply to sliding indications (2e, 2f)?
2.12 Ann: Yes, except that since the contact bows denote timing, a stronger case can be made for 2f.

2.13 Ray wanted to clarify if 2a and 2b actually say the same thing.

2.14 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 inclusion starts a split second after the movement going forward and stretching begins.

2.15 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.

Returning to the sliding issue: Ann wondered if it is visually easier to understand 2e, even though the “law” says to write 2f. In 2f the hook seems to “float” since it is not attached to a sign.

2.17 Others in the group did not feel the hook in 2f looks wrong. For instance, Sandra pointed out that hooks on a side symbol the hooks would also float (2g). [See Labanotation, 4th edition, page 440.]

2.18 Ray said that he did not feel that rules should be changed to make symbols look better.

2.19 Zack: However, sometimes a line one wants to draw may have to go through a completely black area.

2.20 Ray: If the line goes through the black area it will be OK. But if the stops inside the middle of the black area there will be a problem.

2.21 Sandra: The eye has the ability to fill in gaps, so it doesn't matter if lines are going through black symbols. The eye will “connect the dots.”

2.22 At the end of the discussion the group concurred that 2b is the preferred way to show that the inclusion has the same time value as the movement going forward and stretching. Likewise, they preferred 2f.

3.1 Topic #3 - Cancelation of a body hold when the limbs are carried during torso tilts.

3.2 In Labanotation, 4th edition, page 236, it says, “Rule: when no directional change is written for the limbs (arms, leg, or head) and a torso tilt occurs, the torso carries the limbs with it. Logically a body hold sign is not needed, but for Kinetography readers, the body hold is added as a reminder.”

3.3 Mei said this is confusing because she was taught that the body hold signs should always be written. However, in the text it seems to be saying that the body hold is not always necessary, but can be added as a

3.4 Ann said this issue is due to the different rules in Kinetography and Labanotation. In the Labanotation analysis of movement, when the body tilts, the arms will naturally go with the body. [See the illustrations for 235a and 235b in Labanotation, 4th edition, page 236.] Because of this perception, previously the rule for Labanotation was that the hold signs would not be necessary, but they could be added if desired. In contrast, according to Kin, unless indicated otherwise, when the body tilts the arms are not carried with the body. Rather, they stay in the previously established direction. [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.]

3.5 Addendum from Sheila Marion: 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.

3.6 Leslie: To help with unification of Kinetography and Labanotation, ICKL established a rule that said that in Labanotation the hold signs must be written.

3.7 Addendum from Ann: Leslie said, "To help.........add at the end "and in KIN space holds should be written." Of course they never bother.

3.8 Sandra said that in Benish it is understood that the arms are carried along with the tilt. Ann said that this is true for all other notation systems as well.

3.9 As a related issue Ray wondered why there is a different rule for canceling space holds and body holds.

3.10 Leslie explained the rule. Body holds last until they are specifically cancelled, whereas space holds only apply to the symbol they modify.

3.11 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.

3.12 Sandra: There are “tiers” of symbols, and some are thought of as beings “stronger” than others, so they will hang on longer until they are specifically canceled.

3.13 Ann said that a space hold very obviously pertains just to the symbol for which it is written. Usually when the symbol is finished, the space hold is no longer needed, except in the rare occasion when you need the space hold to continue over a series of movements. In that case the space hold would be held with a retention (hold) sign.

3.14 Returning to the main topic, Mei asked about the present rule for writing body holds. Would it be all right to leave them out if this is done consistently throughout the score, or do they need to be written?

3.15 Leslie: According to present ICKL rules, whenever the body tilts, either a body hold or a space sign needs to be written.

3.16 Ray: The ICKL rules keep changing over the years. In the future, how will the reader know which rules were being followed in a given score?

3.17 Leslie: You follow the rules that are in affect when the score is being written. One hundred years from now, the reader will need to review what the ICKL rules were during the time that a score was written.

4.1 Topic #4 - Use of space signs with diamonds to show distance of leg gestures from the floor.

4.2 The use of the diamond containing a space sign (e.g., 4a) is presented in Labanotation, 4th edition. In the previous editions, a plain space sign was used (e.g., 4b). What was the reason for this change?

4.3 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 [Charlotte] can find out how this happened?

4.4 Addendum from Charlotte: Ann is correct. I should have called them distance signs.

4.5 Ann: In the past the use of the plain sign, e.g., an “x,” could sometimes be confusing. In the support column the “x” would indicate the length of the next step (4c). In the gesture column it conveys the flexed state of the limb (4d). To show the distance of the leg to the floor, the “x” would be placed in the support column (4e and 4f).

4.6 Ann said that putting the sign in a diamond to show distance from the floor clarifies the notation and makes it easier to read (4g).

4.7 Dawn: How would one show the distance between the gesturing leg and the supporting leg?

4.8 Ann pointed out that the distance from the floor and distance from the support are two different ideas. For instance, the gesturing foot could be close to the floor, but not close to the other leg. She suggested using the sign for lateral closing to show a short distance between legs, as in 4h. The sign for lateral opening could be used to show the gesture leg is further away from the supporting leg.

4.9 Sandra: Maybe both methods of writing [e.g., 4f or 4g] could be in the system. The choice would depend on the intent of the movement. If the diamond sign (4a) is used, it would need to be glossarized.

4.10 Charlotte: Would it need to be glossarized since it is in Labanotation, 4th edition?

4.11 Ann said 4a is an established sign. Its use for this application is new.

4.12 Ray gave an example of the use of the diamond sign in the score for Brandenburg Concerto, where it is used in design drawing.

4.13 As a side issue, Ray said the first time he teaches a sign which contains an “x,” he shows all the other signs that contain an “x” and explains they all convey distance in some way.

4.14 Ann said that in LOD they emphasize that flexion and extension are about a physical sensation rather than just about measurement.

4.15 Returning to the main topic, Charlotte recalled that in a previous theory meeting there had been a question about the placement of 4a. The group had discussed the idea of putting the sign in a subsidiary gesture column rather than the support column, because the sign is related to the gesture doing something, rather than the support doing something.

4.16 Leslie: In the original method of writing, to show distance from the floor, the “x” is in the support column. To maintain consistency, when the diamond symbol is used to show distance from the floor, it should also be in the support column.

4.17 Sandra: This also would leave room for writing other aspects of the gesture in the subsidiary gesture column.

4.18 Ray said an “x” showing distance of a step can logically have the same meaning as when the “x” is applied to gestures. One support can be thought of as the fixed end, and the other support can be thought of as the free end. The “x” says the distance of the free end and fixed end gets smaller.

4.19 Sandra pointed out that when one is standing on point, the gesturing leg cannot come close to the floor. If the gesturing leg goes downward, it is comes closer to the supporting leg.

4.20 Ann said that may be true in Sandra's example, but in other contexts the foot could be closer to the floor or closer to the support. For instance, in a demi plie there might be the possibility of the gesturing foot going either close to the floor or close to the other foot.

4.21 Mei: Does 4i mean the legs are close to each other or the jump is close to the ground?

4.22 Sandra: Would this relate to the height of the jump or the distance of the legs from place?

4.23 Ann: If you want the distance of the legs from place, then you could use the lateral signs (4j).

4.24 Addendum from Ann: 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.

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.

4.25 Ann said that this use of lateral spreading was developed through the movement exploration being done in Motif Notation and LOD. It was not used previously in Labanotation.

4.26 Sandra: The height of the movement in the jump would be determined by how much time you have to do the movement.

4.27 The group agreed that 4i and 4j say the same thing: The legs are close to each other.

4.28 Distance from the floor in an aerial movement can be indicated with a path sign [4k]. Another way would be 4l.

4.29 Ann: This would be useful in partner work, where the girl might be off the ground with her legs near the floor.

4.30 Sandra: In partnering there could be other information that shows this, e.g., the position of the man's arms would show how high he lifted the girl.

4.31 Ann said that the intent of the movement might be for the girl to have her legs close to the floor. Why not write that intent, rather than write what the man does to make the intent possible?

4.32 At this point the issue of standardization came up once again. There is a difference between the way movements discussed above are indicated in Labanotation, 3rd edition (1977) and Labanotation 4th edition (2005).

4.33 [For example, in Labanotation, 3rd edition (page 177), the distance of a leg gesture from the floor is as shown here in 4m. The legs close together in a jump is shown as in 4n.

4.34 In Labanotation 4th edition (page 154), the distance of a leg gesture from the floor is as shown here in 4o. The distance of low leg gestures from the ground is shown as in 4p.]

4.35 Sandra said that trying to decide which edition to follow presents notators with a conundrum. Labanotation 3rd edition is based on ICKL rules. Consequently, some notators writing today use that edition as the standard. Others feel the 4th edition is better and use it as the standard. How will people one hundred years from now know which source was used for a score that is written today? Will they think it was ICKL and the 3rd edition? Or will they assume it was the 4th edition because that was the most up to date text when the score was written?

4.36 Sandra said that in order to avoid confusion, in all her scores she says in the glossary which technical references were used as the standard.

4.37 Ray: New ideas and symbols in the 4th edition can be used before they are approved at ICKL, but eventually they should be presented to ICKL.

4.38 Sandra: Meanwhile, all new symbols should be glossarized.

4.39 Ann discussed why she did not go through ICKL for some of the changes in the 4th edition. She said that getting approval at ICKL for every single new development would take too long. It often takes at least three meetings (six years) to get an idea approved. She pointed out that there is a long list of items in Labanotation 3rd edition that did not go through ICKL.

4.40 Sandra: How much of Labanotation 3rd edition was based on Knust, Kinetography Laban?

4.41 Ann: After ICKL was established, Knust made many changes without going through ICKL.

4.42 Ann talked further about the process of writing Labanotation 4th edition. She said it included consultation with a committee of top Labanotation experts. It was written keeping just Labanotation needs in mind, rather than seeking to accommodate both Labanotation and Kinetography concerns as is done at ICKL.

4.43 The group discussed which resources are available for learning Labanotation. Zack said that the sources that he has found most helpful and available for studying Labanotation, which he has been doing on his own for many years, are the texts written by Ann and Knust. For this reason he feels that they should be used to establish standards for the system.

4.44 Ann said that she feels it is important to know in what ways Labanotation deviates from Kinetography, and the reasons for those changes.

4.45 The group felt that the same is true for the 3rd and 4th editions of Labanotation. Everyone felt it would to be illuminating to have a list of the differences between the two publications. It would also be wonderful if the rational for changes were documented. Some of this information is given in Appendix B in the 4th edition, but a fuller listing and discussion of the differences would extremely helpful.

4.46 Ray said there should also be clarification for what is not said in the texts. It is the exceptions to the rules that often can cause problems.

4.47 The group felt that solutions to some of these exceptions can be found in glossaries. These solutions should be discussed and disseminated, e.g., at ICKL, in theory meetings, and on the DNB Theory Bulletin Board.

5.1 Topic #5 - Signs for turning on a straight path.

5.2 What is the meaning of 5a and 5b? 

5.3 Ann said that Ex. 5a was Knust's usage to show revolving while traveling on a straight path. The indication says you are traveling forward and doing a full circle to the right. The movement is analyzed as a circular path which is straightened out to lie on a straight path. As you walk on the straight path you change your Front, gradually revolving around yourself. Ann felt the movement should be indicated more directly, as in 5b. If you are doing it in place, revolving around yourself is a turn. Furthermore, the path is straight, so it should be written as such.

5.4 Leslie: I was taught that 5a was the way one wrote the movement if there is no swiveling (no friction) on the feet; in 5b there is swiveling [see Labanotation, 3rd edition, page 196].

5.5 Charlotte: This is an example of where the differences in the two editions can be confusing. In Labanotation, 3rd edition, page 196 it says that both indications can be used. In Labanotation, 4th edition, page 355 it says the indication shown here in 5a is “old.” Does that mean it should no longer be used?

5.6 Leslie felt that it might have been better to use a different term instead of “old.” She usually uses 5b because most of the time there is some swiveling going on. She also uses it when it doesn't matter whether there is swiveling or not.

5.7 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.

5.8 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!

5.9 Charlotte asked if there is 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?

5.10 Addendum from Ann: 5b is a logical combination of existing signs, already in use; there should be no need to glossarize.

5.11 Tina said she didn't feel this requires a yes or no answer. If something has been created, why throw it out when in a particular context it may be just what you need? It's like Howard Gardner saying, “Are you smart or are you not smart?' What he would say instead is, “When are you smart?” In other words, we should be saying, “When would the symbol be valuable?” In the evolution of notation, after a symbol has been created there may be more refined reflection about how, when, and where a symbol should be used. As needs have come up the theory has changed to accommodate those needs.

5.12 Sandra said there are still issues that have not been resolved. For instance, through motion capture work and because of dancers' training today, the “step gesture rule” is being questioned. Dancers sometimes begin the gesture earlier than _ way through the step.

5.13 Ann: We used to separate the step and the gesture completely. We made a film at Juilliard to analyze basic steps in slow motion, and saw there is an overlap in the step and gesture. [In Labanotation, 4th edition, page 127, the gesture occurs _ way after the beginning of the step.] Maria Szenpal put the gesture 1/3 of the way after the beginning of the step.

5.14 Ray: When I am reading a score, how do I know which rules to follow? I might try to read the score using the rules I learned, but the notator may be using different rules created at a different time.

5.15 Tina said that Ray's comment speaks to the evolution of notation as a scholarly field. It may be important for every score to contain a literature review and to state which theoretical references are being used.

5.16 Sandra: One way the reader will know which rules are being used is to see when the score was written. We can still figure out how to read most of the notation in Knust's scores, even thought there have been many changes since then.

5.17 Ray: It is the word “most” that is worrisome. And how does one know that what one has figured out is

5.18 Ann: I think you will know because the human body has a certain way of moving, and unless you are forcing it into very odd or artificial patterns, which wasn't part of the dance style Knust was notating, you will be able to read his scores.

5.19 Leslie pointed out that understanding the technique of the dance helps in reading a score. That is part of the context of the notation. For example, in ballet certain things are pretty established.

5.20 Ray: However, this assumes one knows the style or technique of what has been notated. For instance, in past meetings we worked on writing and reading Doris Green's notation for African dance. We found the task extremely difficult because no one besides Doris knew the style of the movement.

5.21 Zack said he thought Labanotation is supposed to record movement independent of style.

5.22 Charlotte: It depends on the purpose of the score. For instance, a score for a Balanchine ballet that is written for people who are familiar with Balanchine technique will be different from one that is written for people who do not know it. Also, the introductory material can state if the notator is assuming that the reader knows the technique of the dance. Or information about the technique could be given in a glossary. The standard being used (e.g., ICKL rules, or a particular edition of Labanotation) can also be given.

5.23 Zack said he doesn't have a dance background. Having the score give information about technique and style of the movement is important to someone like him.

5.24 Sandra said that having a score contain too much information can make it very difficult to read.

5.25 Charlotte: Music scores contain some information about style, but they usually don't contain information about the technique that should be used to interpret the score. There are a few Labanotation publications that give information about technique, e.g., Ann's Bournonville book, and the Limon technique book.

5.26 Ray said that while it is possible to notate technique, knowing what the technique is can be difficult. For instance, when the Bureau was notating Balanchine, a group of Balanchine experts were brought in to discuss his technique. None of those experts could agree what the technique is. Ray also pointed out that the choreography for a dance, as well as the technique used in performing it, often changes over time.

5.27 Sandra said there will always be an aspect of oral history involved in preserving dance. This is part of the tradition of all of the performing arts.

5.28 Ray said he feels that writing a score involves two things: the notation of the movement and the
research needed for the introductory material. It is too much to expect that the notator can do both. Doing the research can be very time consuming and is often beyond the expertise of the notator.

5.29 Lynne: The requirements for introductory material in a score have varied over time. In the past the main emphasis was on the notation, and if you wanted you could include information about context, background material, etc. Today it is felt that such information should be included in the score.

5.30 Ann said that notators are trained to notate. They are not trained to do research about the choreographer's biography, history of the dance, etc.

5.31 Sandra felt that it is important to include the introductory material if we want our scores to be taken seriously.

5.32 Mei said that the DNB library often has requests for supplemental material that is not in scores or elsewhere in the library.

5.33 Tina: Maybe we shouldn't be trying to decide when a score is complete. Rather, we should be considering when it is complete for a particular purpose. For instance, if the purpose of a score is to document the movement in a dance, then the score is done when the notation of the movement is done. However, if the score is being written so the dance can be reconstructed in a way that brings as much authenticity alive as possible, then other elements will need to be there. Likewise, if the purpose of the score is to pass on our legacy in an educational setting, it may have different components.

5.34 Leslie: The idea of what is necessary for these various purposes has changed completely in the past twenty or thirty years.

5.35 Charlotte: It is useful to think about what is ideal in creating our scores. However, we also need to think about what is possible and “doable,” given financial and manpower limitations.

5.36 Sandra: It is important to keep in mind that some choreographers now expect and demand that the score include good introductory information. This is what is pushing the requirement for scores to contain that material.

5.37 Tina: In our discussions we need to be clear what we are referring to when we talk about a “score.” Are we talking about the notation, or are we talking about the final publication with all of the support material.

5.38 Leslie: The word “publication” rings a bell. In the past, we were told at the Bureau not to aim at producing a “publication.” Our goal mainly was to write the notation for the score. We didn't have the resources, the time, or the money to do more.

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