November 20: Anna Gawboy

On November 20 at 1:30 pm in 150 CSM6, Anna Gawboy will give a talk entitled “A Prelude to the Analysis of Visualized Music.” Anna Gawboy is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the Ohio State University.

Abstract: The impulse to visualize music resulted in some of the most radical artistic experiments of the twentieth century, yet this tradition has received scant attention from music scholars. Unlike better-known forms of multimedia such as movies and music videos in which music and image both contribute to a developing narrative, musical visualizations seek the direct representation of musical structures. Artists draw attention to particular musical features while suppressing others, performing a kind of analysis through the process of visualization.

Based largely upon nineteenth-century beliefs about the power of music, musical visualization underwent a period of experimentation and popularization in the twentieth century and is now experiencing an artistic revival. My talk briefly outlines this history, addresses issues of genre, and presents a set of preliminary considerations for undertaking analysis. Works discussed include a 2015 immersive video installation entitled The Great Modernists: Malevich commissioned by Moscow’s ArtPlay Design Center; a 2014 computerized visualization of Conlon Nancarrow’s “Study no. 37 for Player Piano” by the American composer-designer Stephen Malinowski; Invisible Acoustics, a 2013 cymatics installation by the British designer Dagny Rewera; a 2011 performance painting by British artist Mark Rowan-Hull; An Optical Poem, a 1937 abstract film by the German-born animator Oskar Fischinger; and Prometheus, Poem of Fire, a 1911 color symphony by the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin.