Gabriele Bertossi

Something given

Integrating avant-garde notational approaches into novel compositions

During my master studies at Prins Claus Conservatorium (Groningen, NL), I had the opportunity of undertaking a practice-based research project that is focused on how I could have integrated innovative notational approaches to my compositional process.


The improvisatory nature of jazz and its demand for originality drove me to investigate how avant-garde
composers have integrated improvisation and artistic freedom in their compositions. This research project is
focused on integrating the notational approaches developed by these composers into my own compositional
process, avoiding the risk of losing the audibility of a composition.

The research question that this study wants to answer is: How can I integrate avant-garde notational
approaches that provide artistic freedom for the performer/s into my own compositions without losing the
audibility of the intended character of each composition?
To meet the objectives of this research a practice-based artistic research has been performed. Furthermore,
the nature of this research is explorative.
A desk work has been performed to deepen my knowledge on the research problem. A specific working
system has been developed to systematically test avant-garde notational approaches and to ensure the
richness of data. This working system consists of two parts:
1. Using a narrative approach to composition (see Preface) and notating 5 different concepts with
standard notation, standard notation with interpretive symbols, graphic notation, and instructional
2. Recording the performances given by 3 different ensembles to the concepts and their notations.
The analysis of the recordings generated specific findings for each notational approach. These findings led
me to the main conclusion that each approach can be considered as a compositional tool with a specific
scope of use that the composer must keep in mind when using each notational approach.

Keywords: improvisation, composition, jazz, classical music, artistic freedom, avant-garde music,
indeterminacy, music performance.

Download my research paper from this link:


Watch my Lecture Recital here: