Let Music Influence Art


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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!

Sadly, 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. So you might wonder, how could music influence artistic expressions of a different medium? When I sit down to play the piano, many times I reach to fasten my seatbelt; but of course, it's not there. Perhaps this occurs, because I feel as if I am going to travel through space. From my mind's eye and at the point I am lost in my music, I envision colorful, geometric forms as I play. The geometric, morphing forms are beautiful. Other times, especially as a child, I saw imaginary birds flying and possibly those birds are manifesting themselves through my graphic designs today. My sketchbooks are filled creative birds. I often wonder where the imagery is coming from. 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 Gestalt’s Law of Continuation in that everything has its own natural rhythm? All artistic expressions should have the same feeling of completeness just as expected in a song.

Next time you find yourself stuck, creatively speaking, listen to 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, musicians vary the way they choose to express themselves. Why wouldn't music influence how an 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 create your abstract designs. If brush strokes and lines are artists’ signatures, then why not let your signatures be influenced by music? (Revised 2/16/2006)

Debbie Jensen, Graphic Designer and Photographer http://www.debjensendesigns.com [Revised “Bringing Music to Art" January 2006]


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