Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fascinating Interview with Notator Ray Cook

DNB Board Member Oona Haaranen recently interviewed Ray Cook about his career in notation. The transcript of the interview is on the DNB site, but I thought I'd highlight two notable bits.

Asked how he got interested in notation, Ray replied:

In 1958 when an Australian dancer, Meg Abby on returning from studying notation in NYC, gave a lecture at Victoria's Ballet Guild where I was taking ballet classes. When asked if she could notate something she obliged by notating the position of a man sitting crossed legged and smoking. Immediately I was hooked and started classes the next day.
(I know many people who were totally fascinated and energized by their first glimpse of notation, but nobody else who started studying it the very next day!)

And asked about his process, Ray said (in part):
I notate supports first with a few easy to capture movements, then the floor plans with dancer's counts. I notate small phrases not knowing exactly how they are going to fit to the music. Except for a few notes I seldom worry about exact timing during rehearsals. I have found that with experience you know what not put in the score.
(I don't know as much about notation as I'd like to, and I wonder: do notators tend to notate the same kinds of things first? Or is the first thing recorded very individual?)

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