Graphic Scores: Jo Ganter & Raymond MacDonald


Graphic scores represent music using visual images outside the realm of traditional music notation, and have been an effective way for experimental musicians to convey musical ideas since the 1950s. However, while many graphic scores are visually interesting, few claim to be works of art in their own right. The collaboration between musician and composer, Raymond MacDonald, and visual artist/printmaker, Jo Ganter, co-authors a series of original prints and musical compositions that test the possibilities of images as conductors of sound, and sound as a compositional tool for images. The reproduction of the images, as archival inkjet prints, allows the works to be used as graphic scores for groups of musicians to perform them, while they are simultaneously exhibited artworks.

Hand drawn ‘grids’ and photographs provide the starting point for intricate images that are collaboratively developed in numerous ways. Sometimes both Raymond and Jo work on the images simultaneously, sometimes through a remote collaboration (scanning and digital editing etc), and sometimes the images are edited while rehearsing with groups of musicians.

Ganter and MacDonald take equal responsibility for the making of the images and the direction of the music; immersing themselves in each other’s practice to produce truly co-authored work: Ganter/MacDonald compositions and MacDonald/Ganter prints; in this way, blurring the boundaries between visual artist and musician/composer. The resulting work is as important visually as it is musically – these two elements in complete equality.

Please click on any of the images below to start a slideshow.


Parallel Moments

Parallel Moments is a CD recorded in 2010, of improvised music by Raymond MacDonald and Marilyn Crispell. Raymond collaborated with the New York-based pianist to create 10 duets. Jo Ganter created scores for three of these pieces, Longing, Town and City Halls, and Conversation. She produced three original prints which she then animated: the films taking the images into a time-based media that truly began to express the music, and explain, how the two dimensional images might act as scores for sound. Conversation




Town and City Halls