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Music Artist

Student animation in the vein of Oskar Fischinger. This animated short is visually synchronized to the music of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1 which was provided by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and performed by Cecile Licad.

Animated by Eric Lindell.

About Oskar Fischinger 

Fischinger was born in Germany in 1900. An engineer and draftsman by trade, he co-owned an animation company in Munich by age 22, producing a variety of experimental films. His early artistic goal was to combine two of his great passions, music and the graphic arts. To this end, he experimented with photographing multiple forms — melting wax, cardboard cutouts, swirling liquids. According to Fischinger historian William Moritz, he devised “a machine that would slice very thin layers from a prepared block of wax, with a camera synchronized to take one frame of the remaining surface of the block. Any kind of image could be built into the wax block — a circle getting smaller would be a simple cone, for example.” Later he would create a Technicolor-style camera for Bela Gaspar that he would utilize in his early color films. Fischinger’s technical and creative efforts were applied, along with scores from Bach and Beethoven, to a hitherto unseen abstract art form known as “visual music.” A long-overdue reassessment of his achievement in this area is now possible, thanks to this thrilling seven-film compilation (the first of a projected series) that samples his work from 1927 through 1947.

Series of works:

Seelische Konstruktionen (Spiritual Constructions), from 1927, opens with two silhouetted male figures drinking together at a table. Over the course of the next few minutes, they change rapidly into all manner of shapes, objects, and creatures — miscellaneous blobs, snakes, lines, even a house that spits them out. This early take on psychedelia is a wonderfully witty exploration of a vast interior landscape.
Studie Nr. 7 (Study No. 7) was one of a dozen “studies” spanning the 1920s and ’30s. This one is a gorgeous visual tone poem with a few small, dynamic white shapes popping decoratively out of a sea of blackness. The mood here is reminiscent of the minimalist work of underground filmmakers like Gregory Markopoulos.
Filmstudie Nr. 8 (Film Study No. 8) takes the trancelike properties of the previous film to greater extremes, with dazzling shapes blinking on and off the screen to the rhythm of Paul Dukas’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Critic Christopher Knight has compared this to the Fantasia sequence that uses the same music, with Disney coming up second. He calls Fischinger’s film “a giddy, liberating experience of space in four dimensions.”
The next film here is in color (Gasparcolor). It shows Fischinger’s surprising modernism, this time using a vertigo-inducing Op art/Pop art canvas that predicts the work of later, lesser talents like Peter Max. It’s puzzling indeed that works like this weren’t revived for mass consumption during the 1960s
The 1936 color short Allegretto was originally made as an insert for a Paramount feature, The Big Broadcast of 1937, but the studio wanted to print it in black-and-white to fit the film and Fischinger refused. Eventually he bought back the rights to it. Again it’s hard to believe this film — with its dizzying concentric circles moving in and out of each other, its bold, beautiful colors, and wild angles — was made more than six decades ago.
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Beethoven music shaped by gradual deafness, say experts

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s gradual deafness may have influenced his compositions, experts have announced.

As his hearing got worse, he favoured lower and middle-range notes in his music, scientists have said in the British Medical Journal.

An analysis of Beethoven’s music has found that once he became totally deaf, he began to use high notes again.

Researchers say the findings explain Beethoven’s music, which has always been divided into three periods.

The stages of his career mark the early, middle, and late periods of his musical compositions.

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam, have found his early quartets (opus 18, 1798-1800) used a variety of high notes.

Beethoven, who suffered from a severe form of tinnitus, first mentioned his hearing problems in 1801 in a letter to Franz Wegeler and Karl Amenda.

He wrote: “In the theatre I have to get very close to the orchestra to understand the performers, and that from a distance I do not hear the high notes of the instruments and the singers’ voices.”

By 1810, when he composed the opus 74 and 95 quartets, the amount of high notes he used dropped significantly, tending towards lower frequency notes.

But the higher registers increased again in 1825, when he wrote the late string quartets opus 127 to 135 and it was thought he had become completely deaf.

The report’s author Edoardo Saccenti said: “These results suggest that, as deafness progressed, Beethoven tended to use middle and low frequency notes, which he could hear better when music was performed, seemingly seeking for an auditory feedback loop.

“When he came to rely completely on his inner ear he was no longer compelled to produce music he could actually hear when performed and slowly returned to his inner musical world and earlier composing experiences.”

However, the researchers have admitted the findings are not conclusive as they used a limited number of Beethoven’s compositions.

A fuller picture would require a “complete and exhaustive statistical and spectral analyses of the composer’s complete catalogue”.

Soundscapes

“Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and …stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to “walk about” into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?” Wassily Kandinsky 1910

Music accompanies us throughout the day while we are driving, playing, or walking along with our ipods. It can create a peaceful ambience as we go about our reading, or stir powerful emotions begging to be expressed in some way, which brings us to this project. There is a wonderful connection between music and visual art which has been examined by many artists. Russian-born Wassily Kandinsky was fascinated by this relationship and explored it in many of his paintings. He is credited with creating the first truly abstract paintings like the one above, and is suspected of possibly being a synaesthete, having the ability to see sound as colour and vice versa. This project gives children the opportunity to think about the emotions music awakens, and how they choose to paint the sounds they hear.

Ten year old Sophie painted this while listening to E.S.T.’s ‘From Gagarin’s Point of View