Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Visualizing" Music

Why do they always pick on Bach? I just ran across this computer 'visualization' and performance of the prelude from the First Cello Suite. It takes about thirty seconds to get into it, but from then on you can hear the prelude--sort of. It's an awful performance and 'visualization', of course. Halting and limping rhythms. Alexander Chen claims that "this interactive project highlights the music’s underlying structure and subtle shifts." Not for me Alex!

There seem to be zillions of different kinds of 'visualizations' of Bach. I can remember some going back decades. I think they pick on Bach because he is the composer most likely to appeal to computer nerds. His music seems so geometric or something. They probably think it is 'simple' with neat mathematical proportions. Wrong, guys. These 'visualizations' actually mislead you as to the structure of the music and just let you think you have 'seen' the structure.

This is a little more useful, I suppose, but for all the fancy visuals, a whole lot less useful than just the score and a decent teacher. This is a typical kind of 'animation':

Poor Bach! Why did they have to pick on him, one of the most expressive of composers, to de-humanize in this crude way?

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