“Visual Music” lecture

I gave my first lecture today. It was a 2.5-hour class on visualizing music, part of the Musical Aesthetics & Media Technology class I am TA-ing.

I spent much of the last few days preparing for this, and I found some impressive examples of visualizing music from the past few hundred years. In fact, there were so many examples that one of the hardest parts of preparing for the talk was defining its scope. I chose the examples I thought were most relevant to telling my version of the story, including Klee, Kandinsky, Oskar Fischinger, the Whitney brothers, Fantasia, all the way up to Ratatouille, the Music Animation Machine, and Martin Wattenberg’s The Shape of Sound. You can see all of these here, in my presentation:

Visual Music lecture
Click image above to download interactive QuickTime slideshow (4.2 MB)
Underlined texts are link-outs, and you can use arrows to navigate through the show.

My favorite example of all is Oskar Fischinger’s Allegretto, which blew me away. Unfortunately I can’t find this online, but there is a fantastic DVD with that video available here.

Fischinger's Allegretto

(Tomorrow or Friday I will follow up with a set of links that cover the best examples of visual music that I found, including a couple of killer blog finds. That set will be much larger than what I was able to cover in class today.)

October 4, 2007. academics, information visualization, media lab, music. 1 Comment.

One Comment

  1. Gabriel replied:


    Thanks a lot for your infos, I am teaching video production and I really appreciate your time to put your presentation online. Really helped me a lot… I am going to make my presentation about Music Video this wednesday and I was thinking it would be interesting for my students to go back to the roots of visual music… I did also some research about VJaying, one of my past-time. There are a few books you might be interested to look about visual music, they concern more collectives of visual artists but are quite fascinating such as:
    vj: Audio-Visual Art and VJ Culture, by D-Fuse.

    Thanks a lot again

    March 2nd, 2008 at 5:58 am. Permalink.

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