Notes for Sound
The novel Notes for Sound is a literary work of musical fiction, or ‘literary music,’ that explores the material and mythological being of music as a phenomenon of sound. Drawing on the proven tendency for listeners to identify ‘person-like’ qualities in the note-play and expressive events of music, as well as the mythological status often given to sound, Notes is dedicated to searching for music’s real-life existence and affective power. In particular, a Beethoven piano score has its own independent identity while it follows and affects the lives of a small cast of human characters and shapes the novel. Concepts of resonance, and the loss and desire inherent in the very nature of sound, are of key importance in realising a story in which Cara, Toni and Quinn make their own music together because of yet despite the failings and loss of important familial relationships. Depending on the loss of, and desire for, sound and its music, Notes enables the reader’s phenomenological experience of music in the mind’s ear, or ‘auditory imagination.’ A kind of composer, the reader is involved in a personal form of music making and performance: a musica practica specific to the novel. As a novel of ideas, Notes for Sound explores the life-making nature and potential of sound as a product of its resonance. Fundamentally concerned with the internal fusion of listening and imagination, it brings the normally disparate realms of art music and electroacoustic music together in a philosophical field concerned with the sound in music and the music in sound. In particular, it creates a ‘resonance chamber of history’ in which the music of Beethoven, Henry Cowell, Cara and Quinn can be related in a world of sound centred on the special resonance of the piano. Ultimately, music is given its own particular life: a life that is both familiar and strange.