Visualizing the Most Sublime Noise
June 5, 2012 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as a scrolling graphical score showing the contribution of each type of instrument. [slyt]
posted by quin (47 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Classical Hero?
posted by Fizz at 7:17 AM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is from the Music Animation Machine. (Note: the video links on that page seem to have rotted, but they can still be edited into working links, e.g. Toccata and Fugue and Clair de Lune.)
posted by Rhomboid at 7:26 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Totally awesome, I wish there was some kind of key to see color/instrument used.
posted by Max Power at 7:27 AM on June 5, 2012


Another of way of looking at it: New Horizons in Music Appreciation, by P.D.Q. Bach.
posted by mkb at 7:27 AM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why not just learn to read music? You get the same pleasure but extra when you actually read the score, plus there are more wonderful things to look at such as the beauty of the engraving, the dynamic markings, articulations, slurs, accents, sforzati and you can see labels telling you which instrument is playing instead of an ugly colored bar with no frame of reference.

Score, 1st movement

Even if you don't know how to read music, I bet you could follow along!
posted by ReeMonster at 7:30 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Beethoven's Fifth Symphony distilled into four-part harmony
posted by Balonious Assault at 7:32 AM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was about to post that, mkb. But let me just add my 2 cent's worth here that I really have grown to dislike theses visual automatic representations of complex music. I feel like they are too dumbed down.

Get a paper score and follow along. This forces you to pay attention to the music, lest you get lost altogether.
posted by pjern at 7:33 AM on June 5, 2012


Wow effing awesome!!
posted by Melismata at 7:39 AM on June 5, 2012


You can't run along the top of the sheet music jumping into the deep valleys and climbing back up the cliffs on the other side.
posted by DU at 7:41 AM on June 5, 2012


You get the same pleasure but extra


I disagree (and I can and do enjoy reading actual scores). I don't think it has to be an either/or. Following this is a quite different experience, and enjoyable in a different way. Very much a different pleasure. YMMV, of course.
posted by bardophile at 7:46 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


pls do the 9th now. kthx.
posted by goethean at 7:53 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The whole thing is worth watching if only to see how Beethoven orchestrates an ever increasing and interesting dynamic leading up to 7:02. Holy shit, it feels religious.
posted by hanoixan at 8:01 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Score, 1st movement

If you're like me and are a little rusty in your Italian: Flauti = Flutes, Oboi = Oboes, Clarinetti = Clarinets (in B? shouldn't that be Bes/B-flat?), Fagotti = Bassoons, Corni = French Horns, Trombe = Trumpets, Timpani = Timpani, Violino = Violin, Viola = Viola, Violincello = Cello, Basso = Double Bass.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:02 AM on June 5, 2012


DAH DAH DAH DAH!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:04 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


ReeMonster: Why not just learn to read music? You get the same pleasure but extra when you actually read the score, plus there are more wonderful things to look at such as the beauty of the engraving, the dynamic markings, articulations, slurs, accents, sforzati and you can see labels telling you which instrument is playing instead of an ugly colored bar with no frame of reference.

I agree that actually just reading along in a score is fantastic for dynamics appreciation, but it's much harder to see where instruments sit in the orchestration if you aren't quick to transpose and you don't, for example, remember where the brass are in relation to the winds and the strings without looking at the left of the page. The piano roll is pretty ideal for the beginner.
posted by hanoixan at 8:05 AM on June 5, 2012


Rhomboid: "Clarinetti = Clarinets (in B? shouldn't that be Bes/B-flat?)"

German uses H for B natural and B for B-flat.
posted by mkb at 8:06 AM on June 5, 2012


pls do the 9th now

This guy does lots of these and they are all great. So here you go.
posted by DU at 8:08 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is great.

If I remember right, there was a really neat animated visualization of a modal jazz song ('So What,' maybe?) posted here a while back. But now I can't seem to find it, and I'm wondering if I imagined the whole thing.
posted by box at 8:10 AM on June 5, 2012


Oh man this reminds me. Five years ago I found a ton of works started by, I think, Jinja- that took this representation and turned it into an art form. I just wish they were in higher res. Searches for "Midi Animation" turn them up.

Final Fantasy IV

Chrono Trigger

Super Mario Bros

Ocarina of Time

You can find more by searching Youtube for 【MIDIアニメ】
posted by rebent at 8:10 AM on June 5, 2012


DAH DAH DAH DAH!

It's DUH DUN DUH DUN DUH!!

Amateur
posted by Fizz at 8:14 AM on June 5, 2012


ReeMonster: "Why not just learn to read music?"

After years of trying in my youth, I finally gave up. I have no problems reading the written word, but musical notation has always been a tangled and incomprehensible mess to me.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:19 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's an enhanced piano-roll score for the 'Große Fuge' (or 'Grosse Fuge', also known in English as 'Great Fugue' or 'Grand Fugue'), Op. 133.

Beethoven's personal favorite of his pieces, it's been cited as being among the most complex ever written. It sounds that way, and the conventional notation is complicated by double flats and whatnot, but the graphic score is very geometrically symmetric, and looks to be structured just so.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:22 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I remember right, there was a really neat animated visualization of a modal jazz song ('So What,' maybe?) posted here a while back.

I believe you're thinking of Giant Steps which has been visualized in a number of ways: animated score, animated intervals, and just plain flash weirdness.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:23 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks, Rhomboid!
posted by box at 8:40 AM on June 5, 2012


... Trombe = Trumpets, Timpani = Timpani ....
posted by Rhomboid


True enough, trombe does indeed equal trumpet. Fun fact: the Fifth is widely described as the debut of the trombone. Apparently this has been disproved because a single orchestral score by a much more obscure composer included trombones in the notation. So, OK, it's the second use of trombones.

Legend has it that the sponsor wanted a big racket and requested a battery of tympany. Beethoven replied, "Don't worry, I've got this new trombone thing, and it will drown out a room full of timpani."
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:48 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


pls do the 9th now. kthx.
posted by goethean at 9:53 on June 5 [+] [!]


omg eponysterical
posted by jph at 8:48 AM on June 5, 2012


Thanks for this! I'm singing B9 this weekend, and not that I absolutely need any more practice (since I can and do occasionally sing this piece in my sleep!), but this is keeping me highly entertained this morning.

seid umschlungen millionen indeed!
posted by jph at 8:54 AM on June 5, 2012


Here's an alternate representation.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:19 AM on June 5, 2012


That's how I originally learned to read and write music! No, not like Beethoven, using the AdLib PianoRoll software that came with my AdLib card back in the 80's! It wasn't all 3-D like this, but the concept was much the same. It is also the probable reason for me doing so horribly with music theory when I actually began taking classes.
posted by charred husk at 9:49 AM on June 5, 2012


Why not just learn to read music?

You wouldn't believe the number of popular science show explanations of quantum mechanics I've watched and thought to myself "Why not just learn Hilbert space theory?".
posted by benito.strauss at 10:00 AM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


These kinds of videos are all over youtube. I just saw this one which actually had a sort of innovative take on this type of visual.
Final Fantasy IV
Heh, that song has graphics embedded in the score.
posted by delmoi at 10:29 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh and here's a graphic song representation I saw a while ago, synchronously called U.N. Owen was her
posted by delmoi at 10:33 AM on June 5, 2012


Heh, you click "related videos" enough you end up with stuff like this
posted by delmoi at 10:47 AM on June 5, 2012


I find these visualizations useful. When they're sufficiently granular, they actually help me hear in greater detail. A musical score is a set of instructions and a visualization. If you can move your eyes from bar to bar in time with the music you're hearing, you can watch it happen in front of you in much the same way as these animations.
posted by Jode at 10:50 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Fifth is widely described as the debut of the trombone.

Well, the debut of the trombone in a symphony. Mozart used the trombone in a couple of operas, most notably Don Giovanni, as well as very famously in his Requiem of 1792. But yes, apparently the impact of the trombones in Beethoven's Fifth (he saves them till the last movement) was quite big.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:50 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why not just learn to read music?

You know, I read music, and I'm watching the video this guy did for the 9th. Now, I know the 9th extremely well; I've performed it 3-4 times a year since 2004. This is a whole new level of enjoyment for me, a new way of looking at an exceedingly familiar work. I approve. (Plus, reading music takes a LOT of practice, particularly when you're in full orchestral score.)
posted by KathrynT at 10:55 AM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


delmoi: "Heh, you click "related videos" enough you end up with stuff like this "

oy, it took me two minutes to figure out why my media player had started playing satie even tho i had paused it to watch the video
posted by rebent at 11:26 AM on June 5, 2012


This reminds me of the animated sheet music for Coltrane's Giant Steps (previously) which kind of does the best of both worlds.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:37 AM on June 5, 2012


I was wondering if they had 4'33". Yup(sort of). And Guitar Hero is kind of a graphical score.
posted by MtDewd at 12:32 PM on June 5, 2012


Someone else took Giant Steps and made a much more complicated and interesting (if less strictly accurate) video rendition.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:56 PM on June 5, 2012


Well, the debut of the trombone in a symphony...
posted by LooseFilter


Correct you are, I misspoke. Also perhaps the symphonic debut of the piccolo. So he really covered his bases on this one.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:24 PM on June 5, 2012


Classical Hero?

I think Xbox Kinect could develop a great 'Conductor Hero' game with this stuff.

They could sell a little plastic podium and lecturn to go with the baton. And you get extra points when you turn around and take a low bow at the end.
posted by colie at 1:33 PM on June 5, 2012


German uses H for B natural and B for B-flat.

Which was how Bach managed to write fugues spelling out his own name.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:48 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


See also, the Gondry Star Guitar music video.
posted by heresiarch at 3:17 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


German uses H for B natural and B for B-flat.

Which was how Bach managed to write fugues spelling out his own name.


Thank you for that Doug Hofstadter! :)

What I thought was kind of interesting about the animation is how clearly you can see how old Ludwig uses the tried and true compositional trick-of-the-trade of making the highs ascend while the lows descend and vice versa. Watch for it, he uses it all over the place in this piece.
posted by readyfreddy at 3:14 AM on June 6, 2012


Double score man, what does it mean?
posted by stormpooper at 6:00 AM on June 6, 2012


double score... all across the stage... amaaaazing...
posted by jph at 9:24 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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