An Imaginary Object
- Nicholas Cook
‘An Imaginary Object’ considers musical notation and what it reveals, as well as conceals, about music. The three distinct functions of notation are outlined: conservation — it stops time in its tracks and gives a stable, visible form to the evanescent; the communication of music from one person to another; and the conception of music, to the ways in which composers, performers, and others who work with music, imagine or think about it. Two different types of notation are also described: Western staff notation, which works by representing the sounds; and tablature notation, which describes what you need to do to make the sound.