May 2, 2006 12:12 PM   Subscribe

The Music Animation Machine is a way to visualize complex music - fugues and sonatas and all that. Other tools, such as those mentioned previously here and here, accomplish a similar task in a way, but this is still very, very cool. Watch and download all the videos you can. Bach, Chopin, Scarlatti... if only there were more! Of course, you could buy the DVD.
posted by BlackLeotardFront (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

The videos themselves can be downloaded with greasemonkey scripts or this firefox plugin if you don't have QT pro (and who does?).

*WARNING. Self link.* And... as for visualizing other music, I already did everything the hard way and made a little tutorial for other people interested in it, if you don't feel like combing through the other posts.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:15 PM on May 2, 2006

I'd been meaning to post this also, it's great stuff. I've been interested in synaesthesia for a while, and I find these simple coloured bars to be astonishingly effective. The Bach video I found to be particularly powerful and moving in it's simplicity.
posted by MetaMonkey at 12:25 PM on May 2, 2006

This is great! I particularly liked (both the visuals and sound of) Fugue for Friday.
posted by pmbuko at 12:52 PM on May 2, 2006

Great stuff. I've wondered about this while listening to music, thinking it would be neat to make it visual as well as auditory.

Michel Gondry's music videos tap into similiar ideas of rendering music in visual form. (both links embedded QT)
posted by bullitt 5 at 1:28 PM on May 2, 2006

And of course, there's the amazing MetaSynth, the ultimate software for creating music and sound using visual composition elements.
posted by dbiedny at 1:38 PM on May 2, 2006

posted by ludwig_van at 1:39 PM on May 2, 2006

Oops, I missed that link, BlackLeotardFront. My bad.
posted by dbiedny at 1:42 PM on May 2, 2006

I love this stuff. Here are some more YouTube samples. The presentation of Chopin Nocturne is a little different in that the focus is on the intervals more than the notes themselves.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:29 PM on May 2, 2006

The general problem with music visualization can be understood by saying the letter M.

Actually, not entirely accurate. Purse your lips, move your tongue back, do everything but hum...

And realize you've done a huge amount visually without having done anything acoustically.

These guys neatly sidestep this problem by running off the MIDI score, and showing things coming before they play. Good on them.
posted by effugas at 2:45 PM on May 2, 2006

Fascinating. I own tape #1, dating from 1990, based on the recommendation of one Edward Tufte. It's great fun to watch, especially with the aid of some recreational pharmaceuticals.
posted by kcds at 5:29 PM on May 2, 2006

What, ain't you never seen a piano roll before?
posted by ddf at 5:45 PM on May 2, 2006

It's so elegant and clear with the Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

Thanks BlackLeotardFront.
posted by bru at 6:06 PM on May 2, 2006

I love piano rolls - player pianos are amazing. This really is very similar, isn't it, except a little easier on the eyes. Glad you guys liked it! I wish there were more, if you guys find some or similar stuff let me know.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:12 PM on May 2, 2006

I find this totally amazing. I think I may buy the DVDs for a friend.
posted by painquale at 7:53 PM on May 2, 2006

I've got two of the old tapes. Fun to watch. An interesting effect after watching 20 or so minutes of it is that you kind of start seeing stationary objects moving. So far, I haven't noticed any phantom midi scores to go along with the effect ;->
posted by alikins at 10:33 PM on May 2, 2006

I found this much less engaging than I thought I would, and I'm normally all for stuff like this. I think that the most interesting visual representation of music is the score. Musical notation is not only conceptually fascinating, but visually beautiful as well.*

*If you've never followed a score while listening, I highly recommend it--pick up the late Mozart symphonies (you can splurge and get the beautiful Barenreiter editions) and see....
posted by LooseFilter at 11:46 PM on May 2, 2006

I liked it very much. Thank you BlackLeotardFront.
posted by tellurian at 12:11 AM on May 3, 2006

Heh, alikins, you're experiencing the delightful and disorienting motion after-effect (as you probably knew - you're cool enough to already have the tapes!).

Loosefilter - I'm sure that I would agree with you, if I could read music. I have a very limited knowledge of it and appreciate it, but for a lay person I think this is the easier way to go than learning musical notation. :) Although this way you can't listen to real virtuoso performances of things - I would love to see Leonhardt's performance of bach's fifth Brandenburg (cliched, i know) in this visual form.

And its just my luck that I'd like to my tutorial page on the day my host is hit by a denial of service attack. So in case it didn't load for you guys, it's up again.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:04 AM on May 3, 2006


if you watch it with your head sideways its like DDR!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:07 AM on May 3, 2006

Hmm, sidewaysness intriuges me, I like the idea of the bars running top to bottom instead of right to left. What is this DDR you speak of?
posted by MetaMonkey at 11:07 AM on May 3, 2006

BlackLeotardFront--I agree, and usually enjoy visual renderings of music myself, but for some reason I didn't like this one so much.

You might try picking up a score anyway--you'd be surprised how intuitive the notation basics are, and how easy it is to see the shapes you're hearing on the page (with orchestra scores, esp.) even without any knowledge of what the marks mean.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:29 AM on May 4, 2006

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