This article argues that animated notations are the most exciting new direction for music notation since the conception of the real-time score. The real-time score revolutionized performance practices in new music, with the composer Gerhard E. Winkler calling it a “third way” between improvisation and fixed scores. Developing upon the idea of dynamic notation epitomized by the real-time score, animated notation features movement as its foundation, and may be presented as an interactive program, video, or application environment generated in real time or preset. It extends the possibilities presented by graphic notations, engaging the processing power of computing toward new complexities of shape, color, movement dynamics, form, synchronicity, and the very performability of music scores. Beginning with a brief historic overview of trends and background that may have informed the development of animated notation, I then examine contemporary practices and their application to a range of music. I will argue that animated notation brings particular benefits for scoring music featuring electronics and aleatoric elements.

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