Music Visualisation

I learned classical piano for 12 years. I’m awful at it. What came with 12 years of classical piano training was some passable knowledge of music theory. Learning to play an instrument is hard and the average listener doesn’t put much thought into what makes some songs work. Because music is auditory, I want to visualise the structure of songs in a way that could be understood by someone who doesn’t think much about music theory. At first, I wanted to visualise the key in which certain pieces were composed to show patterns and parallels. I would have to think more about which aspect of music to focus on, for example, I could also compare the chords of a song to the melody and repetition or looping that happens with music.

I imagine colors and lines/bars for this visualisation, but I’m not really sure how I would do so at this point. Below is some inspiration:

As She Was / Talking Heads


An alternative could be creating something which analyzes the most common words in on an album, artist’s discography, or genre of music and displays these words. I could also do variations on this theme, as well. Similar to one of the first pieces shown in class. 

The City

For another idea, I have three goals:

  1. Build a representation of a city that looks like stained glass (and maybe filigree)
  2. Individuals stories can come together and create a community
  3. Re-use this for another project

On a late night bus in Hong Kong, I looked out the window to see a set of highrises not too far away. Soft light illuminated their massive windows, most slight variations on the yellow glow from incandescent bulbs. There were some florescent lights, ranging from a stark neutral white light to an unnatural blue-ish tinge. Some were waiting, unlit. The emerald green and ruby colored windows threw me off. It seemed more like stained glass on church windows, not a highrise apartment complex in Hong Kong. As soon as I made that connection, the buildings were out of sight. I want to recreate that sight and that feeling I got from looking at the buildings.

I would create the cityscape from paper or cardstock and something translucent, maybe tissue or parchment paper, for the different colored windows. They would be lit by different colored LEDs. To interact, viewers would be invited to say one phrase and the brightness of the lights would change in relation to the speaker’s pitch, cadence, volume, ect., creating a unique but communal experience for each participant.


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