A picture paints a thousand notes…

A picture paints a thousand [words] notes…

Musical composition, the act of conceiving a piece of music, the art of creating music, or the finished product.

Encyclopedia Britannica

I saw a funny meme at #everydayorchestra that said, “I can hear pictures” with a person rubbing a cloth along a violin strings. I have to agree- I can hear pictures. You probably do too. When looking at visual stimuli there do not need to be musical instruments present for a theme tune to come along. Think of some of your favourite movie. The soundtrack composer had to think very carefully about what mood to convey before putting score to the scenes.

One of my favourite secondary Music lessons I taught was showing the same ‘newly created movie scene’ but changing the music genres played alongside it and asking pupils for their ideas on the mood, best suitability and why? Creating movie music is fun! We used different sound effects to bring some tension to an eerie storyboard. Some might say the music made the story.

Take any photograph, painting, postcard, letter, memory, dream or picture book. There are tunes veiled there somewhere that can enrich the experience of the viewer/reader/dreamer. One of my piano pupils is currently working on some composition techniques. I suggested using a simple picture to create a mood as a stimulus to compose. In this “time of more time at home” I think this is something we could each try. Find a photograph of a loved one, a postcard from a memorable holiday destination, a print of your favourite painting etc. and bring it to life using sound. You might already have a tune in your head if you stop and listen carefully.

Famous composer Petrovich Mussorgsky visited an art gallery and afterwards composed music for a great selection of the paintings entitled “Pictures at an Exhibition.” There is something to be said for one idea sparking another. If you are wary of coming up with ideas to make some music on your preferred instrument, I recommend this idea as a jump-off point.

It need not be a complicated musical toil either! Think how simple but popular nursery rhyme melodies are (Frere Jacques, I’m a little teapot, Twinkle twinkle etc.) I would love feedback if you ‘try this at home.’

It is remarkable what we can create when we take the key to unlock a new door we didn’t realise we had closed- Musical composition.

4 replies to “A picture paints a thousand notes…

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