Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Part 1, accompanied by a graphical score.
Q: What do the shapes indicate?
A: Each shape corresponds to a family of instruments:
ellipse: flutes (also cymbals and tam-tam)
octagon: single reed (clarinet, bass clarinet)
inverted ellipse/star: double reeds (oboe, English horn, bassoons)
rectangle: brass (also, with "aura," timpani, guiro and bass drum)
Q: How was this recording made?
A: Jay Bacal performed and rendered this piece using virtual instrument software by Vienna Symphonic Library.
Q: Why did you to use a synthetic rendering instead of an actual performance?
A: There are several reasons that I'm happy I ended up using Jay Bacal's recording, but the reason I used it ended up was simple: it was the first recording I found that I could get permission to use. I'd started out looking for conventional recording I could license, but couldn't find one. I'd almost given up looking (and was running out of time) when I found Jay's excellent rendition. The fact that Jay let me use the MIDI file the recording was generated from meant that I didn't have to do the synchronization step, but other aspects of the process were more difficult (because the MIDI file that contained the data to create the recording was not, in its original form, suitable as an input to my animation software), so in the end, it's hard to say whether it was easier or harder than my usual approach. One benefit of using a synthetic recording is that it's note-perfect and very clear, which makes it better for pedagogical/study purposes.
Q: What do the colors indicate?
A: In this video, musical pitch (as ordered in the musician's "circle of fifths") is mapped to twelve colors (as ordered on the artist's "color wheel"). With this mapping, changes in tonality and harmony correspond to changes in the color palette. You can read more about this technique here:
Unpitched instruments (bass drum, cymbals, tam-tam, triangle, guiro) are shown in gray.
Q: What's the best way to watch this?
A: The best way is to watch it on a big screen; the second best is to watch the custom iPad version; for these two options, use the download for sale here:
The iPad's video out can be sent to a big screen TV or video projector. For the YouTube version, I recommend watching it in full-screen mode, at the highest resolution available.
Q: Where can I get the sheet music for this piece?
Q: Where can I learn more about this piece?
Q: Where can I learn more about the composer?
Q: Where can I get the t-shirt for this piece?
A: I'm not sure, but I think that if you go here ...
... you can order it.
Q: Are there more notes about this piece somewhere?
A: Here are some better-formatted program notes:
Q: Could you please do a video of _______?
A: Please read this: