From Israeli artist and musician Michal Levy, with the help of her friend, animator Hagai Azaz, this is Dance of Harmony, a short that connects chords to colors, shapes, and motions “for those who can’t experience synesthesia directly.” The visualization translates Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Prelude in C Major, The Well Tempered Clavier, performed on piano by Kwon Soon Hwon.
“One day when I was sixteen, I realized that I could see music. The saxophone I played and the jazz I loved listening to came to life before my eyes, or perhaps behind my eyes, in shape and color — little animated characters at first, then something more abstract. By the time I was nineteen, I perceived even letters, numbers, and days of the week to have distinct colors. 5 is blue, 3 is red, without a shade of doubt. It was years until I learned that I was not alone — I had a rare neurological condition called synesthesia, a sort of crossing of sensory channels in which stimulation in one channel produces a response in another. Synesthetes can thus hear colors, see sounds, or taste smells, depending on the variety of synesthesia they have.”
“As a child playing the piano, long before my first conscious synesthetic experience, I was fascinated by how even the tiniest alteration in the position of my fingers could change the harmony completely. These shape-shifting harmonies had emotional undertones for me – I felt like they were taking me on a journey, telling me a story, nowhere more powerfully than in the most famous Bach prelude. It became a dream of mine to create an animation that conveyed this emotional voyage of harmony.”
Next: René Jodoin’s Notes on a Triangle (1966), Cubits (1978) by Al Jarnow, and Bach, Prelude in C-sharp major, WTC I, BWV 848, animated.
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