This phenomenon of "painting or drawing music" knows its roots to two artists, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. Klee, who was also a violinist himself, describes his paintings as layers of music- he compares the layers of paints to layers of musical notes, according to the 'texture' of the music (how many instruments/ sounds at the same time,) how loud/ soft, pitch, etc.
Today we started off this quite abstract journey by listening to a soundtrack from the film Jaws (whom the children were not familiar to, however, after discussion, the element of danger which the music vibrates, did come out. We also moved and danced to the sound- fast, slow, loud, fast, going up and down (pitch,) symphony VS single beats... We also listened to some singular instruments, for example, the flute and violin sound like a butterfly or bird, flying up high, while drums are rhythmic and make you do jerky movements.
What we did today was interpret music in the language of art. We drew music not in musical notes and in musical language, but in the language of art- that of mark making. The kids were made aware of the simplicity, yet versatility of the dot. Klee used to say that "A line is a fit that goes for a walk." It is true- even the most detailed paintings have started from a dot, which create lines and shapes.
We discussed thickness of lines (whether the sound is far/ close;) length of line (according to the length of its beat;) the colours (dark colours for deep loud noises, but lighter ones for the symphony.) We also drew the music with both hands- since the symphony and beats play together, we had one hand for the symphony, the other for the beat- it worked just beautifully. The kids were so engaged through the music piece- like a Maestro lost in sound, or a pianist engaged in his piano!
This is the soundtrack we have listened to (the sharks have not been mentioned to the children, so they would be able to bring the element of trouble and danger on their own by evaluating and analysing the music, rather than being influenced: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvCI-gNK_y4
We also seen Broadway Boogie Woogie by Piet Mondrian- a painting full of jerky lines and squares (spots) which signify the traffic jams and busy roads of Broadway. The colours used are the primary colours:
Broadway Boogie Woogie (Animated)
We will be continuing or study in the relationship between music and art in the following lessons. Of course we will also be learning about Van Gogh- so many beautiful paintings with brushstrokes!
Notice the short VS long strokes; how the symphony is ongoing and goes up and down like hills according to its pitch, whilst the dark colour (for the paces) is more jerky. The dots resemble very fast approaching paces. The finale consisted of the collision of both the symphony and paces- therefore making both colours overlap and mix to create a new colour. This highlights their unison.