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Bringing Music to Art

Bringing Music to Art

[Written by Debbie Jensen; January 2005]

"Today, I find myself interested in graphic arts and multimedia; albeit with music written upon my heart and soul."

As a very young child, I began a long journey of piano playing which has followed me all the way through my adulthood. From childhood lessons to adult lessons, and after decades of musical education which included reading notes, chords, scales, music theory, and composition, you would think I'd feel like I had achieved my musical goals. To the contrary, I still have so much more to learn! However, once any pianist reaches an expert level, it is difficult (and expensive) to find the musical instruction required to keep going. From this experience, coupled with other twist of events, I have drifted away from playing music. Today, I find myself interested in graphic arts and multimedia; albeit with music written upon my heart and soul.

Music has been one of the strongest influences to my artistic expressions and has helped me understand how to express beauty, rhythm, and movement. From my photography background (from which I photographed thousands of images), I learned the seven wonders of photography, the importance of framing and composition, and how to create emphasis. So you might wonder, how could music influence artistic expressions of a different medium?

When I used to play the piano, sometimes I would reach to fasten my seatbelt, but of course, it was not there. This often happened right before I started to play, and perhaps this occurred because I felt as if I was about to travel through space. From my mind's eye, and at the point I was lost in my music, I could easily envision colorful, geometric forms. The forms were beautiful. Other times, I would see imaginary birds flying, and possibly those birds are manifesting themselves through my graphic designs today. My sketchbooks are filled with endless imaginary birds; and I often wonder, where is this imagery coming from? There seems to be no end to it.

In music, the rhythm can slow down and speed up, pause or sustain a tone, leap, or even freeze for an instant; but if the rhythm breaks--sadly, the moment is lost. Is art any different? Isn't this concept similar to what we know as a design principle? Each piece of artwork whether it be 2-D or 3-D needs to pull together as a unit and needs to have the same feeling of completeness in the same way as expected in a song; that is, at least to the point of solving all the design problems related to it.

Next time you find yourself stuck, creatively speaking, turn on music which harmonizes with the piece you are working on. Amazingly, in the way songs are written and in the way words are expressed within them, pianists vary the way they choose to strike the keys. So, why wouldn't music influence how the artist's brush strikes the canvas? To experience what I'm trying to convey, close your eyes and draw with your imaginary pen or brush and strike the air as the music influences you; and let the music influence how you make your abstract design. If brush strokes and lines are artists' signatures, then why not let your signatures be influenced by audio multimedia?


2005 Debbie Jensen "Black and White Piano Keys Composition"

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Digital Graphic Design Artist

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