Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Visualizing Music - The Best Blogs

Source: Abstract Bird
One of our school's traditions invites each senior class to offer a song during its graduation ceremony to bring voices and camaraderie together for a final time. Watching the nostalgic singers recently stand together in melody reminded us that the visual experience of song can add a rich element to musical interactions.

Users' interfaces with music have changed radically in the past five years. Hand-held devices, apps, and software are pushing the evolution of composing and listening. Music education in K-12 schools, however, has remained remarkably the same for generations. Some progressive teachers do encourage students to experiment with Garage Band or MIDI-connected keyboards and synth pads. But most children still stand near a piano and repeat familiar tunes in chorus.

A host of terrific resources exists to teach with visual music. This seemingly oxymoronic experience can invigorate those children who often shrug during music class but who spend every waking minute tethered to their iPods with ear buds blaring. Below is the first in a series of posts about tools for visualizing sound. The blogs below feature interactions that would be inspiring in teaching music, creating projects, enhancing lessons, or augmenting classroom routines. A good background on potential lessons and graphics comes from a slideshow called "Using Visualizations For Music Discovery."

Visual Music Blogs


Source: Ethan Hein

Ethan Hein's Blog - Visualizing Music

Ethan Hein's blog is the first and best place to start for a comprehensive introduction to sound optics, music politics, and tune imagery. As a writer, teacher, and producer, Hein presents a tour de force in visual music theory. His syllabus offers novel ideas for music notation, time frequency games, pitch space pictures, waveform graphics, chord progression maps, song structure visualizations, and other aural conceptions. As a disclaimer, we do know Hein from his days playing mandolin in Garman House, but that doesn't lessen the educational lessons of his blog.

Source: Visualizing Music

Visualizing Music - Finding Music With Pictures

This Visualizing Music Wordpress blog appears not to be recently updated, but it still establishes a strong resource of diverse posts about graphic representations of songs and symphonies. In particular, it shares eye-catching maps of pop artists and mp3 sharing sites.

VC Blog - Music Visualization: Beautiful Tools to 'See' Sound

The Visual Complexity site always highlights stunning graphics and data imagery. In this guest post on the VC blog, Portuguese applications developer Ricardo Nuno Silva showcases the many challenges and successes in rendering music into a visible show. Silva lays out an important litany of visualization types for teachers and students alike.

Live Granades - Visualizing Music

On this family blog, physicist Stephen Granade attempts to represent larger, deeper elements of sound through diagram displays. The videos show live examples of musicians at work.

Source: Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings - Synesthesia Spotlight: 3 Visualizations Of Music

In this post on Brain Pickings, one of our favorite sites, prolific curator Maria Popova shares three different mental amalgams of hue and sound. Her choices center on animations and "sonic color." By the way, if you're not following @brainpicker on Twitter, you really should.

Boring Like A Drill - Visualizing Music

This engaging write-up about exhibiting a score and adding graphic interactions to concerts comes from Cooky La Moo, the work repository of artist and musician Ben.Harper (there are lots of "Ben Harpers" out there).

Stay tuned for more posts in our series about teaching with visual music.


  1. Hi Mercer. Thanks for linking, I look forward to check out the other stuff you've posted here.

  2. Thanks, Ethan. Really enjoying reading your work. Seems like you're up to some fascinating projects. Very cool.

  3. Hi Ethan your work on visual music is nicely researched and presented in very comprehensive way. I am looking forward to your next post.
    MBA in USA

  4. I have never imagine seeing music the way you do . I do hope that you share your insights and knowledge to us mere newbies to this kind of knowledge

  5. The blog is getting great interest from the readers. We are participating the perfect reading and writing section. The custom essay writing service is perfect and excellent writing company for making writing papers.

  6. There is one new visualizer which has recently appeared and it does it in 3D. Is called Luminant Music. If just blows away anything else out there. It's here: http://www.luminantmusic.com/. There is a free trial version on the trial page.

  7. I find your site super brilliant, I wish you every success because you deserve it, good luck and again well done for this superb site!

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