The Visual Recital is an exciting new approach to integrating live art music with dynamic imagery, animations, and synchronized video clips, where the performing musician directly controls the digitized visualizations as an enhancement of the musical performance. With the visuals serving as a powerful narrative lattice, art music becomes immediately accessible to audiences young and old who may have never experienced a live recital setting.
has developed a system that integrates cutting-edge visualizations with a simple foot-switch trigger that enables the Art Musician to perfectly synchronize visual effects that illustrate the narrative sweep and structure of each musical composition
"Vernacular Dances", with visuals projected onto a 9' x 7' pvc frame rear projection screen:
Watch a sample clip from "Vernacular Dance No. 1" by
Chopin Project: To-Do List
Here is a list of artwork that we will need to create according to the storyboard outline proposed by the Neptune High School art students:
Scene 1: Introduction/Once Upon a Time
3 sunrise scenes at a lake with trees
- one with landscape in darkness
- one with sun just emerging
- last one with sun rising and light filling scene
Scene 2: The Main Theme
Picture of old man walking by the lake
Scene 3: An exciting secret revealed
Wind blows, revealing scarf on old man representing memories of lost love
Scene 4: Impending Danger
Pictures of approaching storm scene
- clouds darkening
- trees swaying
- leaves flying
- waves forming at lake
- lightning in skies
Scene 5: A distant memory
Pictures of old man in youth and lake from long ago
- smaller trees
- perhaps more people walking around?
Scene 6: Love Theme
Pictures representing love and life, such as
- cherry blossoms
- 2 swans swimming together in lake
- young woman wearing old man's scarf?
Scene 7: Main Theme returns
Autumn scene at lake, with leaves on trees turning colors?
- Picture of the old man in middle age with scarf - looks rich and powerful?
Scene 8: A Grand Dance
Pictures of a town center
- perhaps with a fountain?
- buildings surrounding town square similar in composition to how trees surround lake?
Scene 9: A flurry of excitement
Pictures of town filled with busy people, activities
Scene 10: Distant Memory joins the Love Theme
- Man meets woman wearing his scarf
- pictures of man and woman dancing together
- closing scene with man left alone with scarf in his hands
Scene 11: The Main Theme returns, in greater danger than before
Winter scene at lake with old bare trees, empty skies, and old man in advanced age
Scene 12: A ferocious battle
Winter storm scenes by lake
- old man in coat and scarf struggling against wind?
Scene 13: A tragic ending
Pictures of scarf floating on lake
- night scene at lake with moon?
Once again, here is the flash player for the musical references:
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The Chopin Project
The Chopin Project is a Visual Recital workshop collaboration with the students at Neptune High School to explore the Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 by Frédéric Chopin. We'll be using this website as a project blog to share notes on the development of the storyboard and visualizations created for this piece. Many thanks to Superintendent Dr. David Mooij, Principal Richard Allen, Director of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Edward Dever, supervisors Nancy Moore-Fuss (Arts and Music) and Claudia Mooij (Special Education), Department Chair Brian Dougherty, Director of Instrumental Music Raymond A. Kelly, and Art Teacher Michelle Bowers for helping to bring teachers and students together!
We started today's workshop with a brief introduction to Polish-born composer Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849):
- he lived in Paris and enjoyed a career as a piano teacher and composer
- he composed the Ballade No. 1 in G minor when he was 25 years old
- his music is considered to be part of the Romantic period in Classical Music
We talked about how all music tells a story, and how we would be using Chopin's music as the basic script for the visualizations that we would be creating.
I then played through the work in its entirety, simultaneously projecting descriptive text of the following sections:
1. Introduction - Once upon a time...
2. The Main Theme
3. An exciting secret revealed
4. Impending Danger
5. A distant memory
6. Love Theme
7. The Main Theme returns
8. A Grand Dance
9. A flurry of excitement
10. The distant memory joins the Love Theme
11. The Main Theme returns, in greater danger than before
12. A ferocious battle
13. A tragic ending
You can listen to each of the above sections with the flash MP3 player below:
Get your own Flash MP3 Player
We then brainstormed on possible story and character ideas for each section. We also selected some landscapes that had been created by an earlier art class, matching them with some of the opening sections of the music as follows:
2. The Main Theme (listen to mp3 here)
A lonely stroll
feelings of bewilderment
a Hungarian flavor?
3. An exciting secret revealed (listen to mp3 here)
4. Impending Danger (listen to mp3 here)
5. A distant memory (listen to mp3 here)
- flashback memory
- feeling reminiscent
- a horizon scene
6. Love Theme (listen to mp3 here)
- Cherry blossoms? red/white/yellow colors
7. The Main Theme returns (listen to mp3 here)
- heart beats
8. A Grand Dance (listen to mp3 here)
9. A flurry of excitement (listen to mp3 here)
- big mood swings - rage?
10. The distant memory joins the Love Theme (listen to mp3 here)
- memory - realization
- intense (love theme)
11. The Main Theme returns, in greater danger than before (listen to mp3 here)
12. A ferocious battle (listen to mp3 here)
13. A tragic ending (listen to mp3 here)
After some more brainstorming, the class came up with some amazing storyboard concepts as follows:
create the setting of a man by a lake - the man represents the main theme, and the lake could represent the old man's life
each time the main theme returns, the man gets older (starts with him as a young child)
the lake in turn also ages as the piece progresses - trees get bigger, seasons pass - various seasons can represent shifting moods for different sections (springtime, blooming flowers, storms blowing leaves off of trees, bare branches, water levels changing from full to muddy, etc.)
Love themes can be represented by swans, cherry blossoms, sunsets & sunrises (and other scenery changes)
objects representing love, loss, such as a stopwatch? a top hat?
Shifting realities - in head? memory?
Tragic ending - represented by the object of love left alone on the scene - hat on the beach? floating in the water?
photographs of nearby lake to use either as scenery or as artwork templates - pictures of sunrises/sunsets would be amazing!
Participating students will be invited to comment and contribute artwork, photos, sketches and story ideas through this blog. Additional blog articles highlighting specific sections will be created as needed.
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