Have you ever visualized a song while listening? On my drive in this morning, I heard “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” by Styx, and was inspired to write about this topic today. In “Fooling Yourself”, there are two punchy synthesizer solos that dance up and down the scale with a rather unique rhythm. It’s the sort of melody that my mind can’t help playing with visually on the projector in the back of my brain (luckily the screen doesn’t obscure my view of the road).
I’m pretty sure that how one visualizes a song varies from person to person and song to song. My best evidence for this comes from my experience as part of Sounds and Visions, a computer music and graphics concert put on by the UIUC chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Unfortunately, the web was young back then and we didn’t put much material online. But you can think of it as a zanily creative iTunes visualizer. My contribution was a dancing solar system with a sun that pulsed to the beat and planets excited by notes of various frequencies. Others showcased flocks of birds, a carpet of tiles bouncing little cubes into the air, only to be eaten by alligator-like creatures, and quivering leaf-like fractals.
I just realized that I have no idea where I’m going with this post… maybe I’ll just end it with a question… what other visual expressions of music have you seen?