Still Spring (For Ozu)

Jerry Lim - Score and Guitar


Inspired by John Cage's musical score for his composition Ryoanji, this graphic score is centered around a scene from Yasujiro Ozu's film Late Spring. In this scene, the father of the main character, played by actor Chishu Ryu, is sitting with his friend in Kyoto's Ryoan-ji garden. They discuss his daughter who is finally getting married.

The point of interest for this project is the way in which Ozu describes the animate in the inanimate. In this scene, he cuts between shots of the stones in the garden and the people (e.g. father and daughter, father and uncle etc.) and describes the emotional aspects of these varying relationships through editing and framing.

The printed score is intercut with screenshots from a prior scene where Noriko (Setsuko Hara) and her father, Shukichi (Chishu Ryu) prepare for bed, making even more explicit the metaphorical relationship between the father and daughter, and the stones in Ryoan-ji. As they prepare for bed Noriko expresses concern and sadness for her father, who will be alone once she is married. These pages are not meant to be played but reflected upon, before advancing to the schematic diagram.

The score is based on the shapes and framing of the characters and the garden at Ryoan-ji as shot by Ozu's cinematographer Yuharu Atsuta. I reduced the characters and the garden's stones into two dimensional graphic shapes in order to emphasize the relationships between the two. Noriko is described in red, Shukichi in green, and the score "notes" are in blue.

My approach to the guitar and score varied from page to page. Sometimes I responded spatially, other times texturally or melodically. When working in a more textural mode, I often utilized different extended techniques, such as playing behind the guitar's nut as well more conventional guitaristic techniques. The score has bar dividers for each page to describe length but they can be freely interpreted by the performer. Though the score was intended for solo guitar I plan on creating alternate versions for different solo instruments as well as for small groups.

Excerpts from score:

Improvisation 4
Improvisation 4
Improvisation 5