Music Animation Machine – Spatio-temporal Insights into Music

Music Animation Machine - Stephen Malinowski
Music Animation Machine – Stephen Malinowski

The Music Animation Machine is a tool that allows the visualisation of musical compositions (in MIDI form) as an animated time-line of graphical and geometric elements. Rather than presenting music in its traditional format of the score with a standard 5-line staff notation of symbols and note placements, Stephen Malinowski’s software displays notes, voices and tonality in a scroll. Coloured bars and circles are employed using the visual music of Oskar Fischinger as a model. The history of the MAM began in 1974, and having gone through many iterations, Stephen has grappled with the intrinsic problems of representing musical elements such as consonance/dissonance, the history of recently heard notes, the interactions of overtones, and triadic relationships.

Using different graphical metaphors the MAM visualisations reveal the unique spatio-temporal fingerprints of musical compositions – re-configuring time into space through the transcription of notes into visual form..

Debussy’s Arabesque #1 is presented as a flowing node network each note increasing velocity as it reaches its moment while Clair de Lune is presented as a modernest block design. Its interesting to note how the generated graphical configuration feedbacks onto the auditory perception of the music to create new melodic insights.

You can watch more visualisations from Stephen Malinowski’s MAM here.

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