I stumbled on this small piece of clever animation done to one of my all-time favorite piano works, Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1. (It’s a sensitive if not profound performance by pianist Stephen Malinowski, who also did the animation.) The animation is certainly a fun way to demonstrate the art and mechanics of contrapuntal lines. (Scroll down to see video.)
As someone always fascinated with the graphical representation of data, I say what better “data” than music? Here, the pianist has graphed the music on at least 6 dimensions –
- pitch (vertically),
- time (horizontally, with anticipated tones translucent and completed tones transparent),
- contemporaneity (tones currently sounding highlighted as solid, with fading dynamics depicted by decreases in size),
- tempo (speed of animation horizontally),
- relative dynamics (size of diameter of circles), and
- musical lines (connected by different colored physical lines).
Add all of that to the “seventh dimension” of composition (Debussy = non-quantifiable, non-representational, artistic genius) and the “eighth dimension” of interpretation (personal, shown by the interplay of intentional changes in the first 6 dimensions from the “published” score of “incoming” circles) and you have a mesmerizing 5 minutes.
P.S. The same artist that animated and played the Debussy has many more such videos on Youtube, including The Marriage of Figaro overture; much Bach, including the Little Fugue in g minor (on sampled fortepiano with simulated pedals!), the Toccata and Fugue in d minor, and a split-screen version of the Fugue No. 1 in C from WTC; and a very busy animation of Albeniz’ Asturias (guitar). Enjoy.