Academic Visual Music Sites



As of December 8, 1998 this page on Academic Visual Music Sites is being added to the visual music area of this site in response to the growing awareness on the part of educational institutions to the value of the visual music approach in the creative, performing, and theoretical arts. It's been a long time coming and it's certainly welcome. Given that our society invests vast physical, financial, and marketing resources in educational institutions, their growing awareness and commitment will doubtless accelerate the evolution of the visual music field.

During the past few months I've received a number of messages from people in the academic world drawing attention to academic visual music sites. The following paragraph is taken from my email reply to Michael Theodore, a young professor at Colorado University - Boulder who recently sent me some kind words about my site, indicated that he was seeing the light in the potential of visual music to integrate music related areas, and recommended the UC-San Diego visual music site:

- Pellegrino, 11/2/98 - "I can't tell you how pleased I am to hear you [Michael Theodore] say "it has struck me over and over how visual music is such a wonderful synthesis of so many fields". When the same notion dawned on me in the 60s I thought composers had the perfect perspective to lead the evolution of the field. I built a life and career around sowing the seeds of visual music. Unfortunately composers as a group have been very slow to come around to recognizing the value of the enterprise even though during the past few years it's been cropping up in a few universities here and there. After the first couple of decades it seemed obvious that for recognizing the integrative value of fields like visual music we had to wait for a new generation of composers to come on the scene. I think you've arrived."

What follows are some descriptions of concerts and lecture-recitals based on the visual music theme taken from my marketing and informational brochures. The brochures were direct-mailed every two to three years in lots of over 4,000 to individuals in colleges, universities, museums, and cultural centers throughout North America from the mid-1970s to the present. See my visual music history page for some of the return on those mailings which includes hundreds of performance and residency engagements.

Integrating Music and the Visual Arts

Computer graphics, video graphics, and laser graphics are the natural dancing partners of music. The instruments of the electronic arts provide the means for choreographing their dances in an infinitude of forms without stylistic boundaries.

This event elucidates the principles of form, motion, color, and texture that create the foundation for integrating music and the electronic visual arts. Laser projections demonstrate the natural correspondence among musical elements and visual phenomena. Microcomputer graphics illustrate how musical thinking animates visual art. Video projections give colorful insight into current and future art forms that integrate computer graphics, lasers, and music.

Visualizing Music

Every musical element has a corresponding natural visual structure. with a laser projection system that can be easily viewed by a large audience, the structural principles of music are illustrated in dynamic graphic detail.

Enchanting laser light forms emerging from fundamental musical events serve to make those events visible and audible simultaneously, thereby multiplying and intensifying the impact on the audience's perceptual modes. The event includes compositions by Pellegrino that are specially designed to be seen and heard.

  • Global Visual Music Jam Session project: a collaborative effort by faculty of the University of California - San Diego and University of Southern California. Statements from their site: their purpose - "developing the infrastructure for real-time, networked, sound, graphics, and video, optimized for multi-site, improvisatory performance." "Lemma 1 was the first performance experiment of the Global Visual Music Jam Session project. The concert took place on September 27, 1997 at the International Computer Music Conference."

  • "Imagers are instruments for playing, and playing with, abstract graphics in the way that musical instruments play sound. Lumia are the pieces that result." A site developed by Fred Collopy, Assoc Prof at Case Western Reserve University and Visiting Scientist at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center.

  • From an email message from Mark Danks (connected with the Global Visual Music group at UCSD). "I thought that you might be interested in Pd and GEM. Basically, Pd and GEM integrate audio processing with real-time graphics and image/video processing. In one environment, one can combine audio and graphic processing, using a visual programming language." "GEM is the Graphics Environment for Multimedia. It was written to generate real-time computer graphics, especially for audio-visual compositions. Because GEM is a visual programming environment, users do not need any experience in traditional computer languages.

    GEM is a collection of externals which allow the user to create OpenGL graphics within Pd, a program for real-time audio processing by Miller Puckette (of Max fame).

    GEM currently has many different shapes and objects, including polygonal graphics, lighting, texture mapping, image processing, and camera motion. All of this is possible in real-time without any previous programming experience. Because GEM is an add-on library for Pd, users can combine audio and graphics, controlling one medium from another."

    Pd (the audio side of things) is written by Miller Puckette (the creator of Max). GEM (the graphics side of things) was written by Mark Danks. You can take a look and download the software from his website. (At the time (2/23/04) I was updating this page GEM seems to have gone into hiding. Maybe just temporarily, so try a search engine.)

  • Notes from the website of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

    "Vector Studies demonstrates strategies in formalizing time with color and through integration of the graphics with the musical score. The animation contains two short explorations in the search for useful grammars in the creation of visual music.

    The integration of music and graphics is achieved through use of one mathematical process as generator of both sonic and visual imagery. Computer generated output from this fractal-based process is mapped into both music and graphics.

    To further establish temporal coherence the color relationships in each movement move through consonant and dissonant spaces in a similar fashion to harmonic motion in western tonal music. Color consonance is achieved through equal distribution of red, green and blue intensities over the image. Conversely dissonance is accomplished through inequality of the RGB proportions. "

  • Synesthesia and Visual Music Links from the "Synesthesia, Multimedia & the Caves of Altamira*" page of links from the San Francisco State University Multimedia Studies Program.

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