SASL Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 - Page 88

Understanding Signed Music
Cripps & Lyonblum
used in visual music . The color composition is what makes the harmony between different colors visually pleasant . For example , DeWitt ( 1987 ) used the concept of synaesthesia ( i . e ., synthesizing hearing and sight into a music piece ) when he proposed that “… the piano keyboard is a suitable performance tool for visual harmony ; after all , it has become a commonplace as an interface to sophisticated musical synthesizers ” ( p . 116 ). Visual music is a genre that used different types of visual arts and Strick ( 2005 ) listed them as follows :
• paintings
• photographs
• color organs
• films
• light shows
• installations
• digital media
It is Brougher ( 2005 ) who claimed that Walt Disney ’ s 1940 animated-based film , Fantasia , is an excellent example of visual music performance . This well-known film was influenced by the work of Oskar Fischinger , a visual music artist during that time . The uniqueness of this film was that it included both lyric and non-lyric songs with artistic visual motion ( i . e ., animation ). Of special interest is the definition that Evans ( 2005 ) provided for visual music as follows :
Visual music can be defined as time-based visual imagery that establishes a temporal architecture in a way similar to absolute music . It is typically nonnarrative and non-representational . [ It ] can be accompanied by sound but can also be silent . ( p . 11 )
In the silent version of visual music , Evans referred Stan Brakhage ’ s Mothlight 4 ( created in 1963 ) as a tonal montage work that incorporated music visually . This montage piece used dead moths and other organic debris from light fixtures . No camera or audible sounds were used and Brakhage included different natural minerals such as twigs , blades of grass , dust , and moth parts into his work . All of these minerals were put onto a sticky tape and printed to celluloid for viewing through the film projector . These plastic materials were cut and placed on the filmstrip to create a fast-paced montage .
In the ‘ silent version ’ of visual music , artists do not feel the need to use lyric and non-lyric songs , or any audible sounds . This suggests that some visual music pieces do not require any language or sonic properties . Likewise , deaf individuals can pursue visual music for itself and enjoy a silent rendition .
In addition , hearing , non-signing visual music artists are known for incorporating the lyric and / or non-lyric component ( s ) into their visual music pieces , using spoken words and / or audible sounds . Deaf individuals can create visual music pieces and incorporate signed words and / or the analogous ‘ sound system 5 ’ associated with hand movements . At a minimum , signed music requires
4 To view “ Mothlight ”: https :// www . youtube . com / watch ? v = Yt3nDgnC7M8 5 The term sound system commonly refers to personal or professional modes of sonic amplification . These vary
from multichannel speaker systems , to body worn devices that privilege sonic tactility ( i . e . literally feeling the sound waves through bone induction ). In this instance , sound system refers to a mode of amplification that employ visual-
SASLJ , Vol . 1 , No . 1 – Fall / Winter 2017 88
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