Dec 17, 2006  •  In Art/Design, Music

Music as Visual Art

Are you a musician? Do you play a musical instrument? Do you know how to read music?

If any of these questions pertains to you, you might be interested in a composer named George Crumb. Crumb is famous for distorting his scores in shapes indicative of the mood he’s trying to set. Case in point, the spiral-shaped score for “Spiral Galaxy: Aquarius”:

Try playing THAT. I wish I had a piano handy.

A few more examples of his scores can be viewed here. (And if you can read Japanese, maybe you can tell me what the site says.)

Reading about Crumb reminded me of one of my favorite painters, Wassily Kandinsky. Considered to be one of the fathers of abstract expressionism, Kandinsky was fascinated with the emotional response evoked by music. He translated the essence of music as well as his theoretical reflections and insights from listening to music onto the canvas.


Dominant Curve, 1936.


Composition 8, 1923.

(Both these paintings can be viewed at the Guggenheim Museum in NY. Two must-sees for any Guggenheim visit.)

Can you see the music? The beats, the melody, the emotion? I can. :-)

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