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Animating Music
[Harvard Magazine, March-April, 2015]

What do we see when we listen to music? In 1940, Walt Disney’s Fantasia famously drew Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite as dancing flowers, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring as a T-rex on the rampage. Today, the music-library software preinstalled on most personal computers offers customizable options: flames, puddles of color, wheeling galaxies. Although these interpretations have artistry, they neither promise nor grant real understanding of how music works. Coasting atop the waves of sound, the images reflect little of its actual structure. But what if a tool were designed to put sight squarely in the service of sound?

“It seems that the twenty-first century is really the right time to think about animated music analysis,” says Peabody professor of music Alexander Rehding. MORE



The Harvard University Department of Music is devoted to the study and practice of music, and exists to provide a first-rate musical education that gives students advanced skills in music as well as knowledge of music history and repertory. Collaboration, creativity, scholarship and musicianship all figure prominently in the department's mission and practice. [Read MORE]


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