Music visualization that has inspired me

My most direct source of ideas for animated graphical scores is the music itself, but I've also gotten inspiration from the work of other artists (including other music visualizers). Here are the people whose work has been most inspiring to me.


Oskar Fischinger (1931)

Fischinger's music visualization sets a higher bar than that of anyone else in the field. His work reflects the fact that he was a musician, a painter, and an inventor, and his animations (especially the black-and-white ones in his early Studies) reminded me that my original motivation for making graphical scores had been to see music express itself in animated notation. Many of my renderers can be traced to Fischinger's influence.

Unfortunately, there aren't any good examples of Fischinger's work that can be viewed for free online; there is a too-brief excerpt ("Trailer") of his Study no. 7 (one of my favorites) on Vimeo, but to really get a sense of his films, you need to rent them online or buy Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films (DVD, 2006, A CVM Release), sold by the Center for Visual Music.


Norman McLaren (1964)

McLaren made many innovative abstract music films; my favorite is Canon, which explores various visual analogues of musical canons. My attempts to visualize canons have not been nearly as creative.


Lejf Marcussen (1983)

The techniques Marcussen employs in his 1983 film Tonespor are the closest I've found to those I use myself, but his approach is much more flexible than mine, more choreographic. Tonespor is his only abstract music visualization, but his sensitivity to music is also very much in evidence in his wonder animation The Conductor.


David Brody (1989)

In Beethoven Machinery, Brody is working with rhythm at many levels: the rhythm of individual notes, the rhythm of phrases, the rhythm of harmonic shifts, etc. There is a lot in this for me still to learn.


Michal Levy (2001)

Levy's joyous Giant Steps thrills and amazes me.


Thomas Stellmach, Maja Oschmann (2013)

I might have used the word "fluid" to describe Fischinger's flying forms, but Stellmach and Oschmann's Virtuos Virtuell is literally fluid: painstakingly constructed from the live-action interplay of ink and water. This video expands beyond structure, gesture, and gait into mood, character, and narrative.