The Shape of Song

April 2001

Supported by The Greenwall Foundation

What does music look like? The Shape of Song is an attempt to answer this seemingly paradoxical question. The custom software in this work draws musical patterns in the form of translucent arches, allowing viewers to see – literally – the shape of any composition available on the Web. The resulting images reflect the full range of musical forms, from the deep structure of Beethoven to the crystalline beauty of Philip Glass.

REQUIREMENTS

Needs a Java-enabled browser. You can view the visualizations, but you can no longer add MIDI files. These video-captures were made on a Mac that has Internet Explorer 5.

MEDIA & ACHIEVEMENTS

The Shape of Song
Net Art News, Rhizome.org

For some synesthesia in action, look no further than Martin Wattenberg’s latest project, The Shape of Song — which just made its debut online at turbulence.org. Wattenberg attempts to visualize various kinds of music via customized software that translates any composition available on the Web into elegant arch-like images and curvy forms.

The Shape of Song | Martin Wattenberg

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