Michael Haverkamp and I made a poster session at the XVI. International Congress of the Society of Musicology (Gesellschaft für Musikforschung, GfM) in Mainz. I like poster sessions, because they offer the opportunity to get in a personal talk with everyone coming by. Almost all visitors already knew about Truslit and one student reported that Truslit recently was a topic in her class at the university.
Here is the English translation of our poster:
Alexander Truslit: Mapping and Mediation of Musical Motion.
Truslit’s theory of musical motion is primarily a holistic technique of music making. The question, whether his motion curves focus ontological structures of music perception, is of concern in musicology.
Truslit claims that an expressive shaping of music is based on three physical patterns which can be freely combined. The motions describe specific, not presuppositionlessly states of physical tension, based on a special type of “wringing” body motions. Such motions activate the lower muscles of the torso which are the more or less conscious pillar of a holistic music playing.
To increase the understanding of Truslit’s theory, it seemed necessary to individually test the possibility of reliving his method. With this practical, introspective engagement it was possible to gain ensured knowledge about his theory and method.
Result: Truslit’s curves are a practical notation of a holistic playing technique which is very closely coupled with musical expressiveness. This phenomenological “view from inside” at Truslit’s method makes it possible to develop empirical research designs for further investigation in the physical encoding of musical expression.
The iPad app Music Moves had been developed to draw with music synchronized motion lines. It is used in an experimental study about Truslit’s graphical notation.
Investigation in Truslit’s method can help to understand expressive structures in music as interindividual patterns of tension and relaxation that can be notated with lines of motion.
Right column (Michael Haverkamp’s part):
Truslit’s concept links to basic aspects of motion in music that manifest between auditory, visual and motor perception.
He was anxious to make his concept plausible by means of the juxtaposition of his intuitive motion curves with synaesthetic pictures. These pictures had been drawn independently of Truslit’s studies and had been published in the context of the colour-tone-research (Truslit 1931/38).
According to Truslit all suitable motion forms for musical interpretations can be reduced to three basic shapes: open, closed and winding Motion (b-d). The simple string together of tones does, as expected, not lead to an impactful interpretation (a).
Truslit’s motion curves vary according to the agogik and the dynamik of an interpretation. He used a filmgramophone to project the audio signal with a try of light to film. Thereby he was able to objectively study the influence of the dynamo-agogik to the motional content of the music. Ton durations and amplitudes were measurable up to 10kHz. A time resolution of 0.001s was archived (Truslit 1938, S.85f).
Truslit tried to proof the significance of his method with very different technical and didactic means. For his time they were quite innovative and are worth a deepening analysis.