This paper traces the development of an experimental music notation project, in which the author sought to implement a scoring system for silence in performance. Considered as a thing, silence has a range of dynamic roles in social exchanges: quietude, reflective pauses, perhaps withdrawal, displays of consent or dissent, attitudes of reception, or brackets for interpretative acts. Seeking to make an instrumental gesture of silence, is there a positive notation for this critical issue of performance, other than merely the courtesies of extended rests, or blanks in the score? How can we score something not present, yet also not absent? In a music notational context, seeking to develop a system for representing silence in the voice, how can we draw incipience?
To address this vexing, crucial aspect of communication, the author developed a series of inscriptions that oscillate between pictures and writing, and between visual and auditory, that exemplify the capacities of drawing to operate in the spaces between languages. The research builds on insights from linguistics, theories of notation, the mechanics of vocal production, as well as philosophies of John Cage and Michel Serres, all turning on those Eureka moments that happen in the artist’s studio, at the tip of a pencil.