Postcard pieces
Voyager's Interstellar Music

Visualizing music: animations can help us hear better

I love the current trend of music animations.  We posted the superlative Rite of Spring animation below, but this simple one I especially love, because it not only helps the aural patterns make more sense (we are visually dominant in our perceptions, after all), but reveals a little bit of the actual compositional process, too.

Anyone who has studied tonal counterpoint knows that the all-time undisputed master craftsman is J. S. Bach, and The Musical Offering (BWV 1079) is a pretty clear example why.  Here its most essential idea is presented in way that helps one hear and understand the nature of a so-called 'crab canon':

Now here is the music in context--try and notice if the little animation above helped you better hear the process Bach is putting the thematic material through:

Canon 1 a2 (Canon Cancricans)

(played by the superb Ensemble Sonnerie)

Pretty neat, right?  A few more interesting animations below the break:


Bach, Fugue in G minor "Little" (BWV 578):


Steve Reich, Clapping Music:


(Reich meets Stevie Wonder version)


A 3D polyrhythm metronome:


Even more:

Brahms, Piano Quartet in C minor (Mvt. 4)

Bach, Toccata & Fugue in D minor

Mozart, Symphony No. 40 in G minor (Mvt. 1)

Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 in C minor (Mvt. 1)

Beethoven, Symphony No. 7 in A major (Mvt. 2)

(If you like these, just kick around Youtube a little bit, there are a bunch out there.)