Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Shape of Music

The Shape of Song by Martin Wattenberg, a New York-based digital artist, attempts to answer what music looks like. The custom software in this work draws musical patterns in the form of translucent arches, allowing viewers to see--literally--the shape of any composition available on the Web. The resulting images reflect the full range of musical forms, from the deep structure of Bach to the crystalline beauty of Philip Glass.

Chopin, Mazurka in F# Minor
The image illustrates the complex, nested structure of the piece.

Philip Glass, Candyman 2
These images show two different tracks of the same piece,
and reflect the underlying elegance and simplicity of the music.

Madonna, Like A Prayer
Pop music has its own style of repetition.

Bach, Three of the Goldberg Variations
The images are as closely related as the music
and show the AABB form.

The refrain of this folk song is simple and repetitive,
without the asymmetry that characterizes minimalist works.

Schoenberg, Opus 19, Movement 1
Our program detects one tiny
island of repetition in this track.

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