Friday, July 7, 2017

We're All Ears :: July Inspiration :: Visual Music

June 22 was the 117th birthday of an artist named Oskar Fischinger, as I learned from a #GoogleDoodle. If that name doesn't sound familiar, you likely have seen his work in the animated Disney classic, Fantasia. His work is the opening with the graphical representation of the notes.

Seeing that sent me on a quest to find out more about what I came to learn more.

I stumbled next upon a TEDx talk by Dr. Hunter Ewen entitled Music is a Visual Art. In that talk while sharing the visual representation of a score that allows for a musician to really grasp the concept of the musical sounds the composer is after, he said the following,

"So by visualizing this piece of music we are all of a sudden open to a number of things we might not notice when just hearing it. We can see patterns and sequences more easily. We can see which instruments are playing and where and how. We can see when harmony becomes melody. And we can see when there's one note versus when there's many notes."

I really liked the idea of seeing patterns and sequences and watching where the notes take us on the unique journey of the musical score. And that is when I stumbled upon the work of two artists in graphic notation or animated scores. I see a lot of possibility for crossing over into making beautiful jewelry.

Check out this score by Andy Fillebrown for Debussy's hauntingly beautiful Clair de lune

I love the circular representation of the score and the way the lights flare and trail off as the notes are held. It is mesmerizing.

Seeing this led me to believe there were other artists out there doing something similar and I landed on the YouTube channel for Stephen Malinowski or smalin. His visual representations are different, but no less compelling. Here is one of his takes on the same piece of music, but with a solo guitar instead of piano

The color are again mesmerizing, and I love the way they are connected by the lines.

I have spent many days just letting these animations play in the background. Each is so different and so beautiful.

So the challenge for July, should you choose to accept, is to find a piece of music with a graphical notation or animated score, from either Andy Fillebrown or Stephen Malinowski - they each have dozens and dozens to choose from - or any other artist really. Then represent that in a pair of earrings. The nice thing about YouTube is there is a little embed link that will allow you to grab the HTML code to put into your blog post. I would highly recommend that you share the visual in your post or at least a link to the one that inspired you.

Can't choose? Check out my favorites from both of them:

Beethoven, String Quartet No 16, 3rd mvt (opus 135)

Paganini, Caprice No 5 (solo violin)

Debussy, Syrinx (solo flute)

Debussy, First Arabesque (hearts/butterflies)

Bach, Fugue in C Minor, BWV 546

Bach, Prelude in C major, WTC I, BWV 846

Bach, Prelude in C Minor, WTC I, BWV 847

Situm, Ghost Waltz (solo piano)

Mozart, variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata

Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody 9

Tchaikovski, Nutcracker (Arabian Dance)

See you on July 21st with your jewelry representations of these graphical notations of classical music scores!


  1. I did a necklace inspired by the visual representation of a musical node in february. It was tough as I had to come up with the visualisation by myself. So I am going to definitely try again this time with more help in the form of these videos

  2. Erin. . . where you come up with these ingenious ideas. . . your mind is so filled with imagination! I am going to try to hop in on this one. . . . the operative word being "try." :) Thank you for such incredible inspiration!

    1. Thanks for that, Miss Norbel! I just keep my eyes and ears open all the time. I love to research information on a subject and find inspiration everywhere. I enjoy coming up with these challenges, because they challenge me, too!