Scratch Orchestra


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The recollections of Alan Brett are currently the best source of info about Scratch Orchestra on the wiki.

This page may organize further gathering of information on the ensemble.

Improvisation rites

The Scratch Orchestra was founded with a newspaper announcement/draft constitution in Musical Times (1969) by Cornelius Cardew. Improvisation rites that are at the focus of wiki's attention are mentioned there already:

An improvisation rite is not a musical composition; it does not attempt to influence the music that will be played; at most it may establish a community of feeling, or a communal starting point, through ritual.

That was not entirely the case later, as you can see in the collection of rites, Nature Study Notes, in their original form to be found here: but also digitized at our wiki and available here: Cornelius Cardew (ed.), Nature Study Notes. Some of the improvisation rites are so within the library scope that are also included directly in an extended, commented form.

No rights reserved in this books of rites. They may be reproduced and performed freely.

…are the worthy of appreciation opening words in the text, and later you can find many interesting game mechanics like conversing with imaginary pigeons or giving money to other people ;). Inspiring!

Members of the Scratch Orchestra

The membership in Scratch Orchestra was not formalized. As many of those people are authors of the Improvisation Rites, their biographical information will be included (sooner or later, most probably). Only these are added so far (some maybe just as "drafts"):

Here is a continuation of a members list:
Bergit Burckhadt, Bob Guy, Bryn Harris, Carol Finer, Chris Jones, Chris May, Daphne Simmons, David Dixon, David Jackman, Ed Fulton, Frederic Rzewski, Greg Bright, Jane Hare, John Nash, John Tilbury, Judith Euren, Keith Rowe, Laura Holmes, Maggie Nichols, Michael Chant, Michael Parsons, Mike Smith, Paul Irvine, Philip Dadson, Psi Ellison, Roger Sutherland, Stefan Szczelkun, Tim Mitchell.

The list above might be debatable in some cases, and certainly is incomplete.

One of the best sources on the SO is the blog of orchestra member, Stefan Szczelkun. You may start with the article "The Scores of the Scratch Orchestra":

See also: S. Szczelkun, Improvisation Rites (book review)

Photo by Walerian Szczelkun, CC BY-NC 2.0

Games and activities in the library:

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