Music Animation Machine

NPR brings to us Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring part 1 with Stephen Malinowski, a composer, software engineer, and pianist with all recordings made by Jay Bascal. This video he created of the Rite of Spring visualizes the performance of the musical art piece. It is definitely amazing how many different ways art can be expressed and visualized. Malinowski’s description for the youtube video is as follows:

Q: How was this recording made?
A: Jay Bacal performed and rendered this piece using virtual instrument software by Vienna Symphonic Library.

Q: What do the shapes indicate?
A: Each shape corresponds to a family of instruments:
ellipse: flutes (also cymbals and tam-tam)
octagon: single reed (clarinet, bass clarinet)
inverted ellipse/star: double reeds (oboe, English horn, bassoons)
rectangle: brass (also, with “aura,” timpani, guiro and bass drum)
rhombus: strings

Q: What do the colors indicate?
A: In this video, musical pitch (as ordered in the musician’s “circle of fifths”) is mapped to twelve colors (as ordered on the artist’s “color wheel”). With this mapping, changes in tonality and harmony correspond to changes in the color palette. You can read more about this technique here:

Unpitched instruments (bass drum, cymbals, tam-tam, triangle, guiro) are shown in gray.

Q: What’s the best way to watch this?
A: The best way is to watch it on a big screen; the second best is to watch the custom iPad version; for these two options, use the download for sale here:

The iPad’s video out can be sent to a big screen TV or video projector. For the YouTube version, I recommend watching it in full-screen mode, at the highest resolution available.

Q: Where can I get the sheet music for this piece?
A: Here:…

Q: Where can I learn more about this piece?
A: Here:…

Q: Where can I learn more about the composer?
A: Here:

Impressed? Certainly this video is very amazing. Have you seen other visual expressions of music before? I’d love to hear about what unique things you have seen!

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