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MAS - Music As Script

MAS - Music As Script: Visual representations of piano music by Claude Debussy

The purpose of this project is to interpret and make art music’s form and architecture, as well as other aspects of essential intrinsic musical elements, more accessible with the aid of visual interpretation and audiovisual (AV) representation. Visual representations focuses on the performing musician (such as gestures, moving limbs) as well as other objects that belong to the performative context (e.g. mechanical parts of the instruments).

The project is, so far, based on the following: 

  • How can elements of the music be highlighted using visual representation as a tool? 
  • How can experiences of the music be enhanced through visual representation? 
  • What imprint does the music leave in the visual rendering of its interpretation? - can the visual interpretation be reused in the creation of new works? 

The project has also started to intensify matters of remediation that arise when music and video interact with each other. To what extent does each of the media retain its identity and when, and to what extent, does something new emerge? [3] Related to the latter, developments have originated, where the visual representation is approached without the intended music. Through sonification of the generated visual representation, new piano music will be created. The visual representation also serves as a model in the compositional process when new electroacoustic Music (EAM) is composed exclusively with the visual representation (without the intended music) as a model of inspiration. 

MAS aims to further develop the performance practise of piano music, using moving visual repre- sentations of the music as an augmentation of the performance practise. The intention is that spectators should be given opportunities to deepen their musical understanding while experiencing the visual interpretation and music simultaneously. The music chosen for this study is by french composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Images for Piano, Book 1 and II.[1] [2] and the visual interpretations has the task to enhance, and illuminate, musical narrative, events, architecture and form.

Visual material is generated from events that are present and essentially related to the performance when I (as a pianist) play Debussy’s music, such as mechanical parts of the grand piano, moving limbs as well as aspects and effects of added lightening. Visual materials are then produced in the final visual representation with the music as a script meaning that the content of the video is built exclusively on elements of the music itself. This is done to, through inter modality (hearing and seeing), make the music more accessible.

The visual interpretation of the music also has artistic ambitions; all visual materials are indeed the result of a collaborations between myself and a film photographer. Issues of the collaboration have been governed by a mutual artistic exchange concerning choices of pictures in the pre-production (filming) of the visual interpretation. When the production (producing the visual interpretation) of the AV interpretation starts, matters of thematic correlation become the principal concern, e.g. how the visual interpretation should be shaped to enhance the music’s inherent elements. Polyphony and polytexuallity, many combined intertextual rhythmic, chordal and melodic figurations simultaneously, inherent in the nature of the piano, is what governs and creates a substantial amount of the characteristics in a piano piece. Therefore, the picture streams in the visual interpretation are organized in multiple layers (with different opacity) to enhance polyphonic and polytextural contexts. The differences of opacitys are in constant change to emphasize form, architecture and other elements, in parity with the music. 



The Royal College of Music  in Stockholm

Duration of the project: 2020-2024

Page responsible:Web editors at EECS
Belongs to: Media Technology and Interaction Design
Last changed: Oct 12, 2022