The original idea behind Sonic Notation was to develop a sonic language to describe visual art. We soon discovered that the visual artists interpreted the same sounds differently, so we decided just to play with translating back and forth between art and music repeatedly to see what evolved. We had one "tree of music and art" that was initiated with a piece of music and one that was initiated with a piece of visual art.
The early prompts were simple. For the musicians: Interpret the painting as music knowing that someone will attempt to paint it. For the visual artists: Interpret the music as a painting knowing that someone will attempt to play it.
Later they became more specific. For the musicians: Choose a way to encode 3-dimensional space into your pieces consciously, deliberately and meaningfully. For the visual artists: Choose a way to encode a sense of time into your pieces consciously, deliberately and meaningfully.
Challenging Choose three elements from the attached list and listen to the music you chose (for the artists) or observe the art you chose (for the musicians) until you have a really solid, secure sense of what each of those elements looks or sounds like. Create three pieces, each of which combines two of the elements.
alignment -articulation -blending -change of direction -colour -continuity -curve -decoration -density (of information or marks or voices or notes or whatever) -direction -divergence -dynamics -form -gradient -hue -idiom -key or tonal centre -layers -line -mass -material -modulation -motif -order -organisation -overflow -pacing -patterns -phrasing -pitch -placement -position -quantity -randomness -range -rate of change -repetition -rhythm -shaping of phrases -size -softness -spacing -speed -stroke -structure -structure within structure -synchronicity -tempo -texture -theme -tone -variation -voices -volume -weight
Investigative Find one thing about your chosen source piece to explore in depth. Something that the artist perhaps used to express something. Our work will be even more interesting if we limit ourselves to four or five elements of our own choosing, e.g. 5 words, colours, tones, notes, shapes, forms, sounds, motifs, or whatever you can think of.
Conceptual Think about the role of repetition in your medium and use it to say something about the piece you're interpreting. I think this round is going to be really interesting because repetition is used for different reasons in music and visual art.
These were some challenges I had in mind that we never got around to.
Analogy-driven What questions does your source piece bring to mind? Explore them using line, shape, form, colour, and/or texture. All of those terms work for both music and visual art.
Experimental Incorporate breathing into your new piece. It doesn't have to be your own breathing or that of your audience. It could be metaphorical breathing of the art you're interpreting or creating. There are many ways to interpret this. Breathing space. Time to breathe. Take a deep breath. Breathe them in. Hold your breath.
Purposeful Without using words or representations of real stuff, inject humour into your next interpretation.
Intuitive While carrying a printout of your source painting or listening to your source music, collect a few sticks and stones and place them around the house, in your bag, pockets, vehicle, drawers, fridge, medicine cabinet, etc. Play with them and study them intensely during a quiet time, but not for any particular purpose. When an idea occurs to you "out of nowhere" make art or music.