Head over to the Music and Visual Media page to see my brief 4 piece now!

There is also a new video of my instrument in action on the Instrument Building page as well as an update on the Political Economy of Music page!


How will the relationship between sound and image progress?

This is a question we were asked to answer, taking into consideration everything we have looked at.

The relationship between sound and image becomes so strong that they almost blend into one thing.  The way in which they interact with each other enhances the audience’s experience tenfold.  Music can change an image or series of images completely in the same way that images can completely change a piece of music.  They work together so that our emotional response is as high as possible.  They can reinforce something we already know or change our outlook on something altogether.  It has come to the point where we almost expect sound to accompany images and vice versa.  For example, when watching a film or television program there is always music to heighten our viewing experience.

As well as things we see on television and films, we are just a click away from image and sound relationships at all times.  We can simply go on YouTube, Vimeo and other similar websites and watch millions of different videos that utilise an image and sound combination.  We have come so far in terms of how image and sound can work together to make something far more powerful.  For example, the interactive videos people like Robyn and Arcade Fire have done simply pushed the boundaries further.  This may be a sign that image and sound relationships are ever progressing and will continue to push the boundaries.

With the invention of the Scopitone and the music video amongst other things, the relationship between sound and image has evidently progressed over the past 100 years or so.  It is now dependent upon the creativity of the artists, composers and thinkers alike to keep progressing the relationship.  With constant technological advancements and new ways of doing and sharing things it is inevitable that the relationship of sound and image will only develop further.

Latest session: More music videos and Michel Gondry

One slightly unusual video we looked at last time was Mohammad ‘Sakrifis’.  It looks at things in an abstract way and focuses on certain parts of the horse.  Along with the music, this makes for an interesting video.  I like the simplicity of it and how it can keep a viewer watching without having much going on.  These are ideas worth thinking about when making my own video.


We also looked at a man called Michel Gondry.  After watching a documentary on him and his work, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked his style. He has directed videos for the Foo Fighters, Beck, the Chemical Brothers, the White Stripes and more.  He has a very imaginative approach to his videos, using some very interesting techniques.  I particularly liked his one idea of having shoes attached to his feet with string, walking backwards and then reversing the video so it looked like the shoes were walking in front.  It is such a simple idea yet so effective.  I won’t have enough time to be able to do anything quite like him but I can still use his ideas for inspiration when making my own video.  Here are a couple of surreal and crazy videos he has made:

Music and Video

In the last lecture, we saw some examples of effective music videos and talked about things like MTV and how music and visual media has changed over time.

MTV – In 1981, MTV made its debut.  It would be the first programme specifically for music videos.  However, it seems that these days MTV has lost its original audience – young adults.  Instead, it now only really shows reality TV programmes targeted at teenagers such as 16 and Pregnant and My Super Sweet 16.  It lost its demand because of sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.  The first video MTV broadcasted was The Buggles ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’.  Here it is:


Head Room Videos

They are called ‘head room videos’ because they only show heads and faces.  I thought it was an interesting approach and I have considered trying it out as it’s fairly simple and it would be interesting to see how the videos differ depending on the song.


Interactive Videos

Another thing we looked at was interactive videos.  Firstly, we saw The Wilderness Downtown.  This is an interactive film by Chris Milk featuring “We Used To Wait” by Arcade Fire.  The video is incorporated with Google so that the location you type in is in the video, making each watchers experience a much more personal thing.

Another example of this approach is Robyn’s video for ‘Killing Me’ where the curser interacts with the video.


High Production Videos

A good example of this type of video is Michael Jackson, whose popular music videos that aired on MTV, such as “Beat It”, “Billie Jean” and “Thriller”—credited for transforming the music video from a promotional tool and into an art form—helped bring the relatively new channel to fame.  Although sometimes criticised for their violent and sexual elements; others were lauded by critics and awarded Guiness World Records for their length, success and expense.  Other artists that are known for their high production videos are Madonna and Lady Gaga, who often incorporate fashion statements and the ‘shock’ factor.


Early Music Videos

Of course, before MTV came about music videos did still exist, they were just less prominent.  They would be known as an “illustrated song”, “filmed insert”, “promotional (promo) film”, “promotional clip”, “song video”, “song clip” or “film clip”.  For example, in 1936 Len Lye made this video for the Post Office.  This video was made in colour even though movies were still in black and white, and it also shows the use of early video effects.


Earlier again, in 1926, renowned fashion and portrait photographer Man Ray created the movie short ‘Emak Bakia’ – subtitled ‘Cinépoéme’.  This experimented with filming techniques such as focus and exposure.


The Scopitone 

Scopitone is a type of jukebox featuring a 16mm film component. Scopitone films were a forerunner of music videos. 

Based on Soundies technology developed during WWII, color 16mm film clips with a magnetic soundtrack were designed to be shown in a specially designed jukebox.

The Scopitone was built in France in the 1960′s and became very popular in Europe, especially in West Germany and England. It didn’t reach the United States until the about 1964.

By the end of the 1960s, the popularity of the Scopitone had faded.  The last film for a Scopitone was made at the end of 1978.


First session back after Easter

Today we talked about what we will be doing up to the end of the year.  We have two tasks to complete.  The first one is to create a piece with still images and music – something that tells a story.  This will be completed over the next two weeks and you will be able to find the finished piece on the Music and Visual Media page.  I have already had some different ideas for this so keep an eye out for that.

The other piece will be a visual/sound project that incorporates moving images and sound.  Again, I have already had some ideas for this after seeing various examples in the lectures.  This will be uploaded in the next couple of months.



Montage is a technique that is used in film editing to condense space and/or expand the idea of time.  It is an extremely effective way of giving a piece of music more depth.  I have always enjoyed montages that go with music as long as they are done well.

Here is an example of one that I particularly liked.  I think it was very well done and the song worked very well with the visual elements.  It shows how impressive and powerful nature is.  With a mixture of creatures, weather and landscapes, it creates a nice visual experience that can make the song more memorable.  With effects such as slow motion being used, it continues to draw viewers in even more.  I particularly liked the ending where we see the world getting further and further away as the song slows down and comes to an end.

Principles of design and visual elements & Composition rules

The 8 Basic Principles of Design

  1. Balance – a state or equilibrium between forces
  2. Contrast – Interaction of contradictory elements, expresses the duality seen in opposites
  3. Emphasis – Establishing centers of interest which focus the viewer’s attention
  4. Direction – Both implied and actual, they help guide the eye and mind movement of the viewer. The can also bind the work into a single entity.
  5. Proportion – The size relationship of parts to the entire work, and each to the other. very often associated with figural art.
  6. Scale – Real apparent size seen in relation to other objects, people, its environment or the proportions of the picture plane.
  7. Rhythm – the recurrence of a design element couple with a certain order to the repetition. Provides continuity, flow, direction forces etc. (this is also important in music)
  8. Unity – The force operating in a work of art which can give it the appearance of oneness or resolution. The consistency of the concept.

Arts 6 Visual Elements

  1. Line
  2. Shape
  3. Form
  4. Tone
  5. Colour
  6. Space
  7. Texture



The rules and conventions of composition are:

  • Rule of Thirds- Divide the image into thirds, if the main components of the image lie on the lines then the image often tends to look ‘right’. Sometimes an image doesn’t follow the rule exactly but the main visual components are close to the third bisectors.
  • Rule of Even and Odds – An even number of things in an image can sometimes create a slightly ‘unnatural’ look. While an odd number of things can often create a feeling of harmony or balance. It gives the image a more ‘natural’ feel to it than an even number does.
  • Rule of Triangles – Triangles, with 3 sides, tend to form stable, solid looking compositions.
  • Space
  • Simplification
  • Symmetry
  • Pattern and Repetition

Rule of Thirds – The wasp sits comfortably on the lines, making this image ‘nice’ and ‘easy’ to look at

Rule of Evens and Odds – Is this image natural feeling or not? Would it have been nicer with just 2 trees?

Rule of Triangles – a solid, stable looking image?


Pattern and repetition


Colour Organ

The Colour Organ

The term colour organ refers to a tradition of mechanical (18th century), then electromechanical, devices built to represent sound or to accompany music in a visual medium—by any number of means. In the early 20th century, a silent color organ tradition (Lumia) developed. In the 60s and 70s, the term ‘colour organ’ became popularly associated with electronic devices that responded to their music inputs with light shows.  The term “light organ” is increasingly being used for these devices; allowing ‘colour organ’ to re assume its original meaning.

Here is an example: