Music Visualization, 1938, All in Paper: Oskar Fischinger's Masterpiece "Optical Poem"

Oskar Fischinger – Optical Poem (1938) from Avant-Garde Cinema on Vimeo. Before digital animation, the early works of abstract pioneers constructed meticulous sequences of images that transformed music into synchronized visual for the first time. These works didn’t simply predict computer animation. They helped create it. The works we make now are heavily indebted to the ideas about abstraction and visualization that these works first established.

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Music Visualization, 1938, All in Paper: Oskar Fischinger’s Masterpiece “Optical Poem”

Oskar Fischinger – Optical Poem (1938) from Avant-Garde Cinema on Vimeo. Before digital animation, the early works of abstract pioneers constructed meticulous sequences of images that transformed music into synchronized visual for the first time. These works didn’t simply predict computer animation. They helped create it. The works we make now are heavily indebted to the ideas about abstraction and visualization that these works first established.

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From MGM’s Music Master, a View of Sound in Technicolor

Now that digital technology allows rapid creation of new interfaces for music and sound, the question of how to represent those elements visually has new life. But whether digital or not, practitioners of music have long been interested in applying further descriptions to music, from the Baroque Doctrine of Affectations to the involuntary association of color in Synesthesia. Applying colors to the notes of a musical scale is one particularly common idea, but the late master composer/orchestrator Arthur Lange had a different idea: why not give colors to range? Building on ideas from orchestrators Francois Auguste Geveart and Rimsky-Korsakov, he …

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