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John Whitney Digital Harmony

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Published on Sep 25, 2007

The 80's would see an expansion of Whitney's exploration of digital harmony. By now he was composing his own music, searching for, as he writes, "a special relationship between musical and visual design." (Whitney, 1991). Whitney was defining a new kind of composer: One with the ability to conceive ideas both musically and visually. "Whether quick or slow, action, as well as harmony, determines much of the shape of my own audio-visual work today. Action itself has an impact on emotions. Fluid, orderly action generates or resolves tensions much in the manner that orderly sequences of resonant tonal harmony have an impact on emotion and feeling..." (Whitney, 1991). The late 1980's would see numerous John Whitney works, combinations of original music and visuals. From Spirals in 1988, to Moondrum, a Native-American influenced series of works completed in the span of 1989-1995, Whitney was now using a special composing program developed in association with programmer Jerry Reed called the RDTD, that enabled the artist to create "musical design intertwined with color design tone-for-tone, played against action-for-action" (Whitney, 1996).

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