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Transcript of Soundpainting!
The Art of Live Composition
The Soundpainting language is accessible to all students, from preschoolers to collegians to those with special needs.
What is it?
Soundpainting is the universal multidisciplinary live composing sign language for musicians, actors, dancers, and visual Artists.
As living language
The Soundpainting language is a living and growing language, which presently comprises more than 1200 gestures.
What is it?
Example of Soundpainting
The Soundpainting language was created by Walter Thompson in Woodstock, New York in 1974
The Structure of Soundpainting
Three Rates of Development
The Soundpainter (the composer) standing in front (usually) of the group communicates a series of signs using hand and body gestures developing the responses for the performers.
The Soundpainter composes in real time utilizing the gestures to create the composition in any way they desire.
The Soundpainter composes with what happens in the moment, whether expected or not. The ability to compose with what happens in the moment, in real time, is what is required in order to attain a high level of fluency with the Soundpainting language.
The gestures of the Soundpainting language are signed using the syntax of Who, What, How and When.
The Soundpainting gestures are grouped in two basic categories: Sculpting gestures and Function signals.
The How gestures are not always employed. The Soundpainter often signs a phrase leaving out a How gesture.
Sculpting Gestures and Function Signals are further broken down into six subcategories: Identifiers, Content, Modifiers, Go gestures, Modes, and Palettes.
Identifiers are in the Function category and are Who gestures such as Whole Group
Content gestures are in the Sculpting category and identify What type of material is to be performed
Modifiers are in the Sculpting category and are How gestures
Go gestures are in the Function category and indicate When to enter or exit the composition
Modes are in the Sculpting category and are Content gestures embodying specific performance parameters.
Certain gestures such as Point to Point, Scanning, Play Can’t Play, Relate To and Improvise are a few of the Content gestures that include parameters requiring specific rates of material development.
: The performer develops their material in such a way that one minute later there would still be a relationship to their original idea.
: The rate of development of material is about twice as fast as that of Rate 1. A minute later there would only be a vague relationship to the original idea.
: Open rate of development. The performer may develop their material at any rate of their choosing.
There are four Imaginary Regions the Soundpainter utilizes when signing gestures.
1 – The Neutral position: The Neutral position is the place on stage where the Soundpainter’s body indicates silence and/or stillness.
2 – The Box: An imaginary space just in front of the Soundpainters Neutral position where phrases are initiated – the place of action.
3 – The Imaginary Staff: An imaginary vertical field 1 and ½ meters (3 ½ feet) just in front of the Soundpainter that indicates low to high pitch range with sound and slow to fast movement with certain
4 – The Imaginary Stage: A horizontal field (like a small square table top) approximately ¾ of a meter for each side (3/4 of a yard squared) at waist height positioned just in front of the Soundpainter.
Created by musical composer Walter Thompson in Woodstock, New York in 1974
The first gestures of Soundpainting were created in the moment during the opening concert.
After the concert Thompson continued to develop his signs and over the next few years in Woodstock Thompson would develop 40 new gestures.
In the mid 1990′s Todd Reynolds, who was a member of the Walter Thompson Orchestra had asked Thompson numerous times if he would teach him Soundpainting. This was the beginning of Thompson sharing the Soundpainting language with others around the world.
The Soundpainting language shares the growth pattern as other spoken languages.
Soundpainting breaks through boundaries, tapping into reservoirs of skills and expression that help students better understand themselves and the world in which they live.
Developing the creative mind
Unlike learning to create within a single style, Soundpainting develops the creative voices of students through an array of structural parameters allowing individual choice and stylistic parameters
Using the composer, or “Soundpainter,” as teacher, draws out the creativity of students.
Each individual and/or each group has the ability to express their own character in an experiential learning format.
Walter Thompson and other Certified Soundpainters
With the success of, and demand for, Soundpainting education programs, the Soundpainting Workbooks and Soundpainting Teacher Certification have been created.
Soundpainting is taught all over the world
It has reached special needs populations, including disabled citizens and at-risk youth, through organizations such as the Ulster-Greene Association