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Philip Glass on music with visuals
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:27 am    Post subject: Philip Glass on music with visuals
Subject description: From Glass' autobiography
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Philip Glass on composing for a traversable distance between the music and the visuals:
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"When you listen to a piece of music and you look at an image at the same time, you are metaphorically making a journey to the image. It's a metaphorical distance, but it's a real one all the same, and it's in that journey that the spectator forms a relationship to the music and the image. Without that, it's all made for us and we don't have to invent anything. In works like Godfrey's, and in works, for that matter, like Bob Wilson's, the spectators are supposed to invent something...The journey that we make from the armchair to the image is the process by which we make the image and the music our own. Without that, we have no personal connection. The idea of a personal interpretation comes about through traversing that distance...I've found that the music can absolutely define that space. In the end, it is a psychological space. The closer the spectator-listener is to the "image"--sound or visual--the less choice he has in shaping the experience for himself. When the music allows for a distance to exist between the spectator-listener and the image, then she will automatically bring her own interpretation to the work. The spectator travels the distance to the image herself, and by moving to the image, she has now made it her own. That is what John Cage meant when he said that the audience "completes" the music. Modulating that distance precisely is an acquirable skill. Talent, experience, and some innate sensitivity will still be needed."

Words Without Music, Philip Glass, Part III: "Music and Film", Copyright 2015 by Philip Glass, Liveright Publishing Corporation.

On a related note, I always design my music-visualization virtual instruments so that the student performers can interpret the music through the visuals. Nothing is ever a fully automated mapping, and students surprise me with what they learn to do with my visualization instruments. Extending the public performance to include the audience is a bit more of a logistic reach -- although something to try for -- but the private performance converges to completion within each listener-viewer.

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