Music Animation Machine
in the
Tough Art
exhibit at the
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

In 2016, curator Claire Pillsbury selected six animated graphical scores by Stephen Malinowski for inclusion in the 10th anniversary of the Tough Art exhibition at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. The scores are projected on the floor so visitors can experience them "up close and personal." The exhibit runs from September 14, 2016 through February 24, 2017.

Resources for parents

  • This YouTube playlist contains all the videos in this exhibition.
  • This page contains information about the pieces in the exhibition (see below)
  • Playlist of animated graphical scores especially for children
  • Stephen Malinowski's main YouTube channel (smalin)
  • Music Animation Machine website (
  • Stephen Malinowski's personal website (
  • Frog Round

    Information about the installation

  • Floor is covered by light gray carpet
  • Video projector is mounted directly above (about 10 feet above the floor)
  • Loudspeakers for audio playback are at the top of the side wall (about 10 feet above the floor)
  • Mac mini running video continuously in loop is inside locked cabinet
  • Flat-panel display near computer cabinet mirrors the projected image (some people prefer watching the video here)
  • Padded benches are provided so that parents can sit while they watch their children play with the music

  • Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
    Canon in D (ca. 1680) watch on YouTube
          Running time: 4:22
          Video produced in 2016
          Performed by Voices of Music
    In this piece, three violins play the same melody at different times, accompanied by a repeating bass line. The first time a note is played, it appears in red; by the time the second violin plays it, it has changed color to green, and when the third violin plays, it has changed to blue, after which it fades out.

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
    Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (1780-82?)
    (12 Variations on "Ah, vous dirai-je maman")
    watch on YouTube
          Running time: 12:34
          Video produced in 2016
          Performed by Stefano Ligoratti
    In this piece, the same musical structure is appears in many variations. In this video, the notes of each variation are overlaid upon those that came before.

    Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
    Etude, opus 25, no. 1, A-flat major (ca. 1836) watch on YouTube
          Running time: 2:33
          Video produced in 2015
          Performed by Stephen Malinowski
    The nickname of this etude is Aeolian Harp.

    Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
    Syrinx (1913) watch on YouTube
          Running time: 2:35
          Video produced in 2013
          Performed by Sarah Bassingthwaite
    In this animation, the width of the colored line shows the change in loudness of the notes of the flute. The name is from a Greek word meaning "pan pipes."

    Percy Grainger (1882-1961)
    Children's March: Over the Hills and Far Away (1921) watch on YouTube
          running time: 7:55
          Video produced in 2016
          Performed by the United States Marine Band
    conducted by Col. John R. Bourgeois
    Grainger's masterful use of the instruments of the concert band can be seen and heard here (note: there's a key to the instruments at the end of the video)

    Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
    Clair de lune (1890-1905) watch on YouTube
          running time: 5:25
          Video produced in 2011
          Performed by James Edwards
    James Edwards performs his guitar transcription of Debussy's popular piano piece
    (inspired by Paul Verlaine's 1869 poem of the same name).

    Artist's Statement

    By the time I was five, I'd played with crayons and understood that
    paintings were made by people—that shapes and colors could be
    combined to produce beautiful effects—but I didn't have that kind
    of understanding of music; I didn't know that beautiful musical
    effects were invented by people, and were the result of combining
    musical notes. It wasn't until I took classes in music that I learned
    that it was not an unfathomable mystery, but something I could take
    part in, and it was another ten years before I was musically fluent
    enough to read scores for the thrill of deeper engagement, discovery,
    and understanding. My animated graphical scores can bring this
    experience to anyone, regardless of age or training; I am gratified
    that they have taught millions of people, especially children, how
    to hear with their eyes and see with their ears.