Musical Narratives for Art – Virtual Rides Inside

Musical Narratives for Art – Virtual Rides Inside

Sometimes music for art can take us behind the scenes of a painting. With subtle or explicit effects, the musical narrative can take us inside the closed box, behind the shaded window.

Several presentations on the site benefit from this audio advantage, this ability of music to transport our mind’s eye into another dimension, as if it rides Dr. Who’s TARDIS (I didn’t know about this either but in the sci-fi TV series Dr. Who, the spaceship was named TARDIS – Time and Relative Dimension in Space). Composer Neil Visher suggests a haunted houseful of electronically charged and demonic experiments, or tortures, in his audio track for artist Ken Myer’s Haunted Mansion. Composer Burton Philbrick treats us to a Christmas shopping session inside artist Rita Brown’s depiction of the outside of a holiday-decorated Woolworth’s Department Store.

In Visher’s audio there is not only the spooky ambience of moans, groans, and creaking doors, but there is a buildup of strange static effects. It is this buildup which creates narrative. We can imagine some demonic and torturous experimentation afoot. As the crackling builds, so do the moans. Finally with something akin to a cymbal crash, we arrive at some moment of ultimate abuse. Then both moans and crackling fade, perhaps as the demonic perpetrators retreat to their respective rooms.

In Philbrick’s cheerier audio story the sound effects are explicit. And certainly there is room for such an approach in musical narrative. Our imaginary shopper passes the Salvation Army volunteer and his bell ringing as she approaches the store entrance. We hear electric doors opening as she steps inside. Once inside, we are greeted by Christmas music and the announcement of Holiday specials and features. An animated flute solo kicks off her busy navigation through the store. At one point our shopper scolds her little one, “Don’t touch that! It might break!”

In action images, the audio narrative tends to suggest a leadup to what is seen. In static presentations, such as our haunted house and department store paintings, the musical story involves introducing elements unseen. In both cases the viewer’s opportunity for a deeper appreciation of the painting may be improved, for that viewer’s own imagination is challenged by the audio to accept the narrative or come up with something more personally satisfying!

We would be remiss not to mention our special discount available to art fans buying their first art photo print off of the site. Sign up for our free monthly bulletin and receive a discount code worth $5 off any print in the Midisparks Art Shop!


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