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An Evening in Vienna

March 9, 2009

I think my favorite art/music unit in elementary school was “music mapping”.  My third grade music teacher, in an effort to instill an appreciation for music, gave us paper and markers to draw what we heard and felt while various songs played.

I gave this my all.  Dots were used for staccato notes; waves for slurs.  I reflected ascending and descending arpeggios by raising or lowering my pen across the paper.

The biggest obstacle was that I ran out of room 30 seconds into the song.  This led to either a ridiculous overlapping of the beginning, middle, and finale, or a very crowded lower right hand corner of the paper reflecting 80% of the song.

However, I compared my finished product with my classmates.  Yes, theirs looked just as ridiculous as mine.  Excellent.

On Friday I rediscovered my love of music mapping at the Utah Symphony’s “An Evening in Vienna.”  The piece: Beethoven’s Eroica.  The conductor: a fellow music mapper.  The most remarkable thing: instead of creating a visualization of the music, the musicians created an instantaneous, audible reproduction of his baton art.  The result was a gloriously entertaining audio/visual experience.

If you haven’t experienced this piece, look no further:


Or, you can actually look further.

Props to Sam for offering the extra tickets.

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