Art 260 / Greg Clayton
Music as Image, Image as Music
Express non-color, through color.
Create a color composition which is a response to an expression or experience in a sensory system other than vision.
Synesthesia Intro Page
In this project you are working to conceive and create a visual response to an audible experience — you are translating music into imagery and visual form, particularly color.
Synesthesia involves an experience by one sensory system while encountering stimuli through another sensory system. (links 1 2 3 4 ) For instance, some synesthetes experience colors when they hear sounds or music. Others see distinct colors when they see letters and numbers.
Wassily Kandinsky sometimes painted in response to music, aiming to create a visual counterpart to the sounds, instruments, melodies and rhythms in the musical composition. His images were non-objective — not related to what we see in nature — but attempted a kind of objective reference to what he heard. (Lyrical; Impression III; Composition VI: Composition LX; Composition X )
Sean Day is a composer who "synesthetically 'sees' colors corresponding to musical timbres; each instrument has its specific color."*
"When pianist Laura Rosser performs, she hears more than sounds. She hears colors -- each note has its own associated hue." *
There are many devices these days that respond to music to create light shows or even computer screen-savers. The entire history of music videos involves varied efforts to express music though imagery and motion -- and motion pictures, videos and television use music to reinforce, and often to establish, onscreen mood, attitude and content. Each month new artists, technologies and artworks expand the bounds of integrated sound, image and viewer.
Try out this Arcade Fire interactive music video in your Chrome browser.
(your mouse or your phone/tablet can alter imagery in various ways throughout the video.)
Ellie Goulding/Lights — An Interactive Music Experience by Hello Enjoy
Try this (mildly) interactive synesthetic landscape coordinated with music.
(it begins slow and gradually becomes a fairly active scene. Try: move your mouse around.)
Search for interactive synesthetic projects online
A) Find a piece of music that moves you -- not just your current favorite, but some piece of music that every now and then, you want to go back and listen to.
Consider music that was composed before you were born — something that has stood the test of time.
Explore pieces of music that do not rely on lyrics for their power. While there's nothing wrong with lyrics, lyrics involve poetry — and words are simply a different medium than music itself.
B) Take time to listen to your music– just listen.
Just you and your headphones.
Try listening with your eyes closed or in a dark room.
With nothing there to see, see what you see.
What colors, motion or forms do you "play" while the music is playing?
C) Open your sketchpad and respond.
Have some colored pencils or watercolor pencils, pastels…pencils and or charcoal.
The more mark-making options nearby, the better. Try to find the marks, colors and arrangements that express what you are hearing…and feeling.
Don’t settle for your first marks…keep trying.
Fill at least three separate pages of your sketchbook, listening to the music during at least three different sessions.
See how your compositions vary. Note how they are similar.
There is some speculation that we are all synesthetic, but not all of us have nurtured our ability to experience the connections among our senses.
In this project we are, in a way, trying to translate musical language into visual language — like translating English into French, it takes some practice, but it is learnable. Unlike translating English to French, there are very few rules about right translations and wrong translations.
D) Develop your color response — refine your design.
Refine your sketches, colors and marks. Use your knowledge of color to explore alternatives in hue, in chroma and in value.
Play with juxtapositions — explore how combinations of color side-by-side alter mood and quality.
Play with varied proportions — explore how small versus large masses of color change effect. See how many small daubs of color behave differently than large fields of a color.
Refine your image until it is more and more right to the music.
Consider mixing media — this does NOT have to be a straight painting, per se. Use color to express, but feel free to propose any media.
*** Share your Music: Bring an MP3, a YouTube link, CD or other means of sharing your music with the class. That is, arrange for us to be able to listen to your music.
Plan a larger scale, developed response to your music— usually a painting, but mixed media or even sculpture, video, photos or annimate are options.
Area/Size should be at least 24”x24”.
That's 576 square inches (height X width). Other sizes of the same area include 22"x26", 20"x29", 18”x32”, 16"x36", 12”x48”. Find the proportions (shape) that is right for your concept. You may also create several smaller pieces that combine into one larger series. (for instance, 4 —12"x12" designs, or 6 — 8"x12" designs.)
You may propose any medium that allows you adequate control and range of color and form. Present your sketches and concept for discussion and approval to the instructor.
If you have skill in video or animation, you may create a response in either of those media. Duration minimum 1:30. (ideally, continue the video/animation for at least the duration of the music.)
Here are some links to music identifiied by some of us.
Send in your links to the music that's inspiring your synesthetic imagery by email.
In your email, include the info noted below, in each column. If at all possible, include a link to a page that plays your song ... YouTube is the most typical choice.
For "Comments", tell us whatever you can about why you chose this piece — what does it do for you, or to you? What memories or feelings does the music evoke?
(Title, Artist, approx. date, performer...whatever identifying info you can find.)
|Clair de Lune | Good Vibrations
|There Will Be Time | Turning Out | So Will I
|Lullaby | Colors | La vie en Rose | Goldfinger | Defector
|Adagio in G Minor
|I Met You When I Was 18 - playlist
|Claire de Lune
| "The Night We Met" by Lord Huron and Pheobe Bridges
|River Flows in You
|"Just This" by Birdtalker
|Chopin Nocturne Op.48 No.1 By Arthur Rubinstein
|"Sailboat" by Ben Rector
|"Movement" by Hozier
|Last Samurai - Small Measure of Peace
|BAKKUSHAN-Alles War Aus Gold
|Celtic Thunder- Now We Are Free
|Lana Del Rey - Terrence Loves You
|Khenany - Cambita
|Amadeus - The Abduction from the Seraglio
|Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair
|Red - Gone
|TopKillaz - HideHo
|Disasterpiece - FEZ OST - Nocturne
|Frank Ocean - Moon River
|Enya - Broadica
|Khalid - Better
|Mélanie Laurent - Début
|Celtic Woman- Nella Fantasia
|Lux Aurumque by Eric Whitacre
|Dawn by Dario Marianelli
|Lovely the Band - Broken
|Bach - Invention
|La La Land soundtrack - Epilogue
|Tyler the Creator - Cherry Bomb
|City and Colour
Life In Technicolor
Lover of the Light
|Amelie - La Valse D'Amelie (Piano) |
Louie Armstrong - La Vie en Rose
Matt Simons - Catch & Release (Deepend remix)
Billy Joel - Piano Man.
Tez Cadey seve remix Bass Boosted
|Nighttime Hunger by Overcoats
Sweet Dreams by BØRNS
Seeing Stars by BØRNS
|Hozier - In a Week
|Thunder by Imagine Dragons
|Alt-J - Bloodflood pt. 1
|Joy by Iron & Wine
|Coming Home/Leon Bridges
|The Less I Know the Better
|Claude Debussy - Suite Bergamasque - Clair de Lune
|Me and your mama by Childish Gambino
|Secret Love Song - Little Mix - Justerini
|Turning Page by Sleeping at Last
|Down by Marian Hill
|Good night for dancing - Josh Abbott Band
|Violin Cover of Hello by Adele performed by Rhett Price | alt Explosive | Round-Table Revival
|Imogen Heap - Hide And Seek
|Woods by Bon Iver
|Stand By Your Gun by George Ezra
|The Section Quartet, such Great Heights
|Step Out by Jose Gonzale
|The Eyes of Shabbat Gula by Nightwish
|Neck Deep December
|Sucré - Hiding Out (Live)
|Dead Throne... The Devil Wears...
|Ludovico Einaudi Nuvole Bianche
|Starry Night by Chris Augus
|Original Theme song to the Pink Panther
|Electric Daisy Violin- Lindsey Stirling
|Devil Went Down to Georgia
|Love You Madly by Cake
|"What Color is Tuesday?"
|Dvorak - New World Symphony - Part One: 4th Movement, Dublin Philharmonic, Conductor Derek Gleeson
|"The Distance Between" by composer Adrian Munsey
|Move BY Luke Bryan
|variation of William Tell's Overture
|Ludovico Einaudi - Divenire
|© 2019 Greg Clayton/ email@example.com