The Scratch Orchestra’s ‘Nature Study Notes’

Café Oto, London
A music improvisation and visual performance event by an ensemble of original Scratch Orchestra members and new performers led by Stefan Szczelkun


including Jane Alden, George Chambers, Linn D, Carole Finer, John Hails, Bryn Harris, Les Hutchins, Petri Huurinainen, Eve Libertine, Robbie Lockwood, Geraldine McEwan, Christian Sancto, Matt Scott, Hugh Shrapnel, Howard Slater, Stefan Szczelkun, Emmanuelle Waeckerle & Ali Warner

“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.” (Cornelius Cardew, Draft Constitution for a Scratch Orchestra, 1969)

Nature Study Notes is a collection of 152 written instructions or ‘scores’ that was published as a booklet by Cornelius Cardew at the beginning of the Scratch Orchestra in 1969. The scores are called ‘rites’ and were used in many of the early Scratch Orchestra concerts.

We performed at

Chisenhale dance space, London,  28th June 2014
Recording of  Chisenhale event by Bryn Harris here
Penny Homer’s review  “Nature Study Notes up to Scratch at Chisenhale Dance Space” here
Martin Dixon photo documentation of Chisenhale event here

Café Oto, London, 22nd Februray 2015
Deirdre McGale photo documentation of café Oto event here

Mayday rooms, London, May 3, 2015

IMPROVISATION RITES: from John Cage’s ‘Song Books’ to the Scratch Orchestra’s ‘Nature Study Notes’. Collective practices 2011 – 2017  (2017) by Stefan’s Szczelkun is available here and here. An account of these events made from recorded meetings and conversations, the mundane texts, like emails, that circulated amongst the group in the process of preparing for and evaluating the performances.

Scratch orchestra on Carol Finer’s ‘Sound out’ radio program on Resonance fm here

Performing the Scratch Orchestra’s Nature Study Notes, an essay by John Hails here