Basic Principals Of EWMN

The Body

To establish one general form that will stand conceptually for all bodies, an abstract body, similar to a ‘stick figure’ image is proposed: a ‘man without qualities’. Each limb is reduced to its longitudinal axis - an imaginary straight line of unchanging length. A limb, in EWMN, is considered to be any part of the body, which lies between two adjacent joints or a joint and a free extremity.
The Parts of the Body Illustration: John G. Harries 1950s

The Law of 'Light' and 'Heavy' Limbs

When a person walks his legs move but the rest of his body (i.e. the torso, the arm, and the head) is being carried along by the movement of the legs. EWMN labels this phenomenon "the law of light and heavy limbs". The structure of the body is dealt with as a branching linkage. The base is conceived as the ‘heaviest’ segment of the body. When a ‘heavy’ limb moves it carries all adjacent ‘lighter’ limbs passively along. When standing upright the feet, considered as the base of the body, are the heaviest limb. The legs are lighter (than the base), the torso lighter than the legs, etc.
Illustrations: John G. Harries 1950s

The Manuscript Page

EWMN is written, not drawn. Movements are written on a horizontally ruled notation page (resembling a spreadsheet) which represents the body. Vertical lines divide the page into columns, denoting units of time. The symbols for movements are written in order, from left to right. The standard (default) distribution of the limb groups is shown. The set-up of the notation page in EW is very flexible. It allows the user to divide the body into as many (or as few) parts as necessary to adequately define the movement to be notated. Movements written in EWMN can be set to music. However music is not required, since EWMN focuses on the recording of movement alone.
The Manuscript Page Illustration: John G. Harries 1950s

The System of Reference (SoR)

EWMN describes movement using a geometrical model that allows the user to observe and notate movement in an objective way, free of verbal ambiguity and emotional attachment. The notation utilizes a spherical system of coordinates, similar to latitude and longitude on a globe. Since the movement of a single axis of constant length free to move about one fixed end, will all be enclosed by a sphere, the free end will always describe a curved path on the surface of this sphere. Every limb in the body can be regarded as such an axis. Constructing the SoR: One direction on the horizontal plane of the sphere is selected as the starting position for all measurements. This direction is labeled zero (0). By measuring off intervals of 45 degrees, eight positions are obtained (Fig. 6). Four vertical planes intersect the horizontal circle, they are perpendicular to it.
The Main and Private Systems of Reference Illustration: Avraham Wachman 1950s

Positions and Movement

The position of a limb is defined by identifying it with the coordinates of the SoR. Movements of limbs are also defined, oriented and measured in relation to the SoR. To document transitions between static positions the system takes into consideration the type of movement, amount of movement, spatial orientation and sense (clockwise or anti clockwise), of the movement.
Analysis of a Position of the Body (II) Illustration: Avraham Wachman 1950s

Types of Movement

Three types of movement are defined: Rotatory movement, when the limb rotates around its axis without changing its place in space. An example of such movement is turning a door knob. Plane movement, the shortest distance traveled by a limb between any two positions on the SoR. “Jumping jacks” exercise is an example for Plane movement. Conical movement, can be seen in the waist when doing the hula hoop.
Rotary Movement Illustration: John G. Harries 1950s

Source: Eshkol, N.; Harries, J. G., EWMN Part I. Israel: The Movement Notation Society; 2001.