Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
The results of this project were far from what I expected both in process and final solution. My topic was rather vague, tempting me to research a broad range of information, much of which was not necessary to the development of my pieces, but perhaps got me thinking in new ways. My project was unique in that it was not the typical, world problem thesis, and the logic behind my decisions was made almost entirely based off of my knowledge of music and and visual subjectivity. Though it was easily the most important part of the piece, and most visually impactful, I spent far too long figuring out the color system. I tend to want to try every option to find the best one before moving on, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is not a realistic approach for every element of a project of this size and complexity. That being said, my research looking into various color to music theories throughout history was the most interesting and helpful part of my research, as opposed to my research of semiotics and synesthesia, which although interesting, did not end up effecting my piece much. Come to think of it, my research was more helpful in allowing me to figure out what I was not going to include in my project, than what I was. Throughout history, so many theorists, artists, musicians, and scientists have attempted to link up music and sound, each with different results. This just goes to show that there is no right or best way to do this. But the fact that I was able to analyze these approaches, and use certain elements of some to come up with a truly unique approach, is a successful outcome of my project. If I were to do the research process again, I would have been more focused in what exactly I was researching, or perhaps would have waited until I had more specific questions, via production, before researching something so broad.
Even in the development process, I had a vague idea of where exactly the project was going visually. I knew the logic behind the system I wanted to employ, but I wasn’t sure what it would look like. While building the pieces to reflect the music, I had to keep everything simple and organized so that I could plug in the information without getting confused or lost. It seems to me that that fact really helped shape the piece because if it was too hard for me to keep track of the musical information, I certainly could not expect the audience to follow it. The simplicity of the layout is what drove the final outcome. I went into the first piece, “Ave Maria,” as a type of crash course, just plugging in the rhythms and pitches to see how things would end up visually. It just made sense by the end of it to keep the whole song as one long piece, as opposed to breaking it up into rows. It gives certain parts more relevance when compared visually in this way. I thought about what visual cliches exist that might help people understand the system. These included making the louder parts bigger, and having individual note lengths represented by horizontal length. One of the most intriguing elements was the tints and shades with the different musical octaves. I knew that given how the voice parts were stacked, having darker, lower octaves and lighter, higher octaves would result in shapes that appeared to have some shape and depth to them. In reflecting on the development process, I would have just started it sooner, because as mentioned before, it was making the pieces that really brought up the questions that needed to be researched.
So less research and more development would be my approach if I were to do this process again, though, had I chose a different topic, this might not have been the case. The process of designing is research in itself though, and it will always result in more questions. I would like to take this process further in the future with a less focus on exact information and data. Given my allotted time and goals for the project, it turned out to be more of an infographic, and less of an artistic piece. That is appropriate, I suppose, for a graphic design project, but I would like to take the visual data acquired and develop a more subjective system to imply mood and emotion in the future. Ultimately, I found much of this process successful, particularly, working my way through and providing visual logic for an extremely large amount of information and
Grill, Thomas, "Visualizing Music" (2014). Honors Theses. 2403.
Honors Thesis-Open Access