Monday, 15 May 2017

More on sequences as patterns in music and visual art

Working on a mapping between music and visual art, based on the recognition of shared sequences.

Many artists have described their work in terms of music. Klee and Kandinsky are prime examples. When you study what they wrote about music, it is often the use of shape and colour that is considered to be the parallel with music. For example colour in painting may be considered to be similar to pitch in music and geometric shape to correspond to timbre (instrument, essentially).

However, there is a more fundamental correspondence between plastic art and music, and that is the use of rhythm. Music is first and foremost rhythm. Even when it is organised sound, rather than the conventional use of musical instruments, the sequence of beats (sound events) is what takes and holds our attention.

Corresponding to rhythm in music could be the arrangement of marks on a page, for example. Klee captured the rhythm of pieces by repeatedly overlaying elements that could be seen as a graphical score.

But the obvious visual equivalent of music is movement, whether dance or film or performance. The music (or sound event sequences, in the case of some typed of experimental music) has a rhythm and this can be matched by movement of objects in time.

Synchronisation is an important aspect of having the sound and vision enhance each other, although this synchronisation can be very precise, or syncopated, or purposefully orthogonal. When precise, the synchronisation confirms our expectation. When syncopated it confirms and enhances. When orthogonal ...