November 27, 2017
Article

What You See Is What You Hear: The Role of Visual Music

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The original definition for Visual Music was defined as “the translation of music to painting” and was coined by Roger Fry in 1912 to describe the work of Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter and art theorist. The idea of music appears everywhere in Kandinsky’s paintings. Kandinsky viewed music as the most transcendent form of non-objective art - musicians could evoke images in listeners' minds merely with sounds. He strove to produce similarly object-free, spiritually rich paintings that alluded to sounds and emotions through a unity of sensation.

Making art that responds to music has been known to increase sensory awareness, facilitate mindfulness and encourage emotional expression. The environment we experience strongly influences our creative process.

Music, painting, drama and architecture all use terms such as repetition, variety, intensity, rhythm, dialogue, balance and unity. Some people can actually hear color, which enables them to be easily influenced by music. Music lights up the entire brain and gets the dopamine flowing which gives energy to be creative.

Art and music have always complimented each other nicely. It has been said that music inspires a creative outpouring without interfering with the process and has been shown to help writers and students studying. 

Creating art provides a distraction, giving your brain a break from your usual thoughts. The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are exactly the same day in, day out. When you get totally immersed in creativity, you may find yourself in “the zone” or in a state of “flow.” This meditative-like state focuses your mind and temporarily pushes aside all your worries. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Painting embraces all the ten functions of the eye; that is to say, darkness, light, body and color, shape and location, distance and closeness, motion and rest.” Creating art trains you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to your environment.

Modern painters have listed a variety of musical genres that get them into the painting groove. While classical music is often the style of music selected, no particular genre of music or artist has been proven to predominantly inspire creativity. Instead it’s whatever the particular artist likes, just like an athlete needs his or her own choice of music to get pumped up and ready, or any person listening to their favorite music while performing their favorite activities. Artists choose what they like to listen to in order to paint what they like to paint.