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2017 Advent Calendar of Fascinating Websites – Day 5 – Scores of Fun

Music to get animated about!



In 2009 Jos Leys (http://www.josleys.com) published J.S.Bach’s Crab Canon on a Möbius Strip on YouTube. This is an animated interpretation of the Canon 1 à 2 from J. S. Bachs Musical Offering (1747), a single musical sequence that was composed to be played front to back and back to front. Videos like this help elucidate musical manuscripts.

They are also useful for advertising. In 2011 Zürcher Kammerorchester https://zko.ch/ (Zurich Chamber Orchestra) commissioned Virtual Republic to create a short animation to promote its forthcoming music season. Using the first violin score for the fourth movement of Ferdinand Ries’ Second Symphony, the result is the ZKO Rollercoaster, a swooping interpretation of a musical ride in our header video.

ZKO Rollercoaster and the Crab Canon on a Möbius Strip build on a legacy of animated interpretations of music on film. From Oskar Fischinger’s 1938 stopframe animation film An Optical Poem (a setting of Franz Liszt’s 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody) to the hugely ambitious 1940 Disney classic Fantasia.



Music Animation Machine  http://www.musanim.com/watch_mam.html

Today’s website offers a stylised interpretation of musical scores. The Music Animation Machine is the brainchild of Stephen Malinowski, who in the early 1980s turned to computer programming to help interpret music visually for the listener. The videos interpret pitch, duration, intervals and dynamics through shape and colour. What began in form like an animated pianola scroll, is now a complex interweaving of music and visual display which helps the viewer understand the complexities of interplay in the score without needing a knowledge of notation.



While the website itself is very basic, it is the portal to Malinowski’s channels.  Posting as Smalin, his main YouTube channel is https://www.youtube.com/user/smalin   and on his website you can read about the development of his interpretative techniques http://www.musanim.com/renderers/.

His videos are illuminating, often hypnotic and works, like his 2016 voronoi tesselations version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, are beautiful studies in art in themselves.


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