Part 2: Graphic and Communication Design

Graphic Score

GRAPHIC SCORE

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For this project, I was asked to produce some kind of analogue sound making device / instrument from random found materials and objects. In a small group, we created a 60 seconds sound performance. My task was to translate the group performance and the unique sounds of the instruments into a graphic score. The ability to visualise what is not always tangible is important as it will help me produce work which conveys mood, pace and contrast. It will act as a visual aid to the audience helping them to understand what they hear.

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Group video

Visualisation of the sounds

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Final graphic score

For my graphic score, I developed a system of graphic notation using oil pastel to create marks and lines that visually communicate my 60 seconds sound performance. From these, I created an animation that translate the performance by drawing each sound element separately on to different pieces of paper and scanning them digitally. I then layered these marks in the timeline frames of photoshop to create the graphic score. I adjusted the opacity of the background to make them quite faded so that it will not distract from the main sounds that will appear on top.

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Group member 1

RESEARCH

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Star Guitar by The Chemical Brothers

"This music video, directed by Michel Gondry, features a continuous shot filmed from the window of a speeding train passing through towns and countryside. However, the buildings and objects passing by appear exactly in time with the various beats and musical elements of the track. Gondry actually plotted out the synchronization of the song on graph paper before creating the video, eventually "modelling" the scenery with oranges, forks, tapes, books, glasses and tennis shoes." 

I like that this video is built around a very simple concept using a single element to represent the sounds. The video is the actual compositional structure of the song which makes it so awesome. It is very different to the other graphic scores I have seen because it is actually repeated footages of landscapes from a window of a train. The maker did not create a set of graphical notations but the light posts, electricity poles, traffic posts, house, shrubs or any other elements of the video represent each sound element in the song. They appear at regular intervals. Short abrupt sounds are represented with single poles while the long electronic sounds are represented by long footage of the tracks and the walls. I believe that it translates the music very well and I just like it takes us on this journey along a train track.

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My Red Hot Car by Squarepusher

I like that this graphic score progress thought the structure of the songs. A short narrative revolving around this car is created with two simple characters. It is a different way to present a sound track but the shapes and tones did not really translate the different sounds accurately. I like the way the elements appear and disappear slowly with the beat of the music and the sharp 2d shapes described the futuristic electronic sounds very well.

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Three Landscapes and a River: a Graphic Score

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"As with many of my other sound works I am interested in the problem of drawing from the sounds visually, in the form of a graphic score. As with my score for Yvon Bonenfant, the drawings are not intended to represent the sound as much as conjure up a method of translating sound into visual form, which allow others to reinterpret back into sound. Not being a musician and working with field-recording & phonography, I am using sounds that are not normally notated. However, I am interested in the synaesthetic dialogue between visual and aural material and the handing over of compositional control."

This graphic score uses the lines of a normal music sheet but the notes are weird shapes and marks randomly distributed across the entire page. The page looks very chaotic but I like the river of orange that cuts through it. It makes the graphic score very interesting and different to the original however, I am not sure how it translates the music. Somehow I think of classical music when I see this.

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Treatise by Cardew

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"This is just one fragment of the 193-page score for this lengthy work. Unlike many graphic scores, this piece has no instructions as to how it should be played, so every performer has to make up their own rules!"

 

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Sonic Wire Sculpture by Amit Pitaru

"Sonic Wire Sculpture is based on a musical instrument by Amit Pitaru which has been shown in museums and galleries would wide. It turns your 3d drawing into sounds, introducing a simple yet deep connection between visual and audio composition."

This is a very unique instrument. It works kind of like a music box when the lines come back to the exact same place, the sound repeats itself. I like that the pitch changes along the line. The higher the position of the line, the higher the pitch. The way that the repeating sounds are represented in a circular motion along an axis makes it very enjoyable. It translates the sounds produced very well because the different sounds are created based on the location on the axis. The sounds has no other variations than the different notes. 

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Bloom by Brian Eno

"Bloom is a generative music application for iOScreated by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers. The software plays a low drone, and touching the screen produces different tones, which play in a loop. If the screen is left untouched, the software will create its own music."

The ringing sounds are represented with a round circular glow that appears each time the screen is pressed. It slowly fades as the ringing reduces. I believe that the round shape translates the ringing sounds very well and the soft echo is well represented when the circle reduces in opacity then disappears. However, I think that the visual is rather random because the circles represent the nature of the ringing sounds, but not the tone, pitch or any other aspect of the sound. The soft purple colours give a melancholic mood to the ringing sounds and a peaceful atmosphere is created. 

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Dynamics of the Subway by Haisuinonasa

Reflection by Haisuinonasa

I like that this music video is so different from all the others. Instead of a graphic notation, it uses the body and movements to translate the sound. It became a lot like a performance piece with a proper choreography where each movement of the body represents the different sounds. The tempo is represented through how fast or how slow the body moves. It is very interesting to see how the body movements can be used to convey pitch and length of the sounds as well.

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Art and Music

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"Scores can blend conventional elements notation with the unconventional. The performer has to use the pictures to inspire his or her performance - it's more like a guide, or a musical map."

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Nebula by Schorn

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The visual of this graphic score is very interesting. The dark clouds look like paint splatters of different colours. At some places the colours are dark, more concentrated and I think that it represents the intensity or the volume of the sound. As this piece has a lot of white spaces, I am guessing that there are a lot of pauses and the over all atmosphere created makes me think about low electronic sounds.

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Graphic Score, Matt Rogers, 2015

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Graphic Score, Matt Rogers, 2015

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Cage/Knowles: Notations

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Leon Schidlowsy - Graphic Notation - Acting - 1972

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I like that this graphic score is neat. It looks a lot like a mathematical or a scientific model using shapes and lines as well as circular arcs to represent the sounds. Somehow it looks like a graphic score and notations for an electronic music or a scifi theme song because of the way the notes are distributed across the page within the white space.

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Creating an animation on Photoshop

The Foley Artists

"The art of Foley for motion pictures, using everyday objects to mimic sound effects to enhance the action on screen. A Foley artist uses different props and recording equipment to create sound effects (SFX) that match the actions happening in a feature film or TV production."

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