Van Eyck, Pavaen Lachrymae (Flow, My Tears), variations (recorder solo, animated score)




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Published on Jun 27, 2010

Theme and variations on "Flow, My Tears" by Jacob van Eyck, accompanied by an animated score.


Q: Where can I get free sheet music for this?
A: Here:

Q: This is boring.
A: If you say so.

Q: Why did you make such a boring video?
A: The idea started with an email from Javier Gaya Uribe. At his preschool in Spain, he projects my videos on the wall for the children. He said he believed that they have some difficulty following the videos because of their complexity, and requested that I do a simpler one; he suggested "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." His request reminded me of an article I'd read by Marvin Minsky which proposes that the sonata-allegro form in music functions as a kind of teaching machine (see "Sonata as Teaching Machine" here:
). I thought I could use this principle to make a video that would teach Javier's students how to understand my graphical notation: I would present Mozart's variations on "Twinkle, Twinkle." I hoped that a video which started simple and got progressively more complex (while maintaining a constant theme) would give the children a path. However, I didn't feel I knew enough to be able to do a good job with the Mozart variations (since they started with two parts, not just a melody), and decided to start with something simpler, variations on a single melody. Since the first instrument children learn in school is often the recorder, I chose van Eyck's variations on "Flow, My Tears."

Q: Who is playing?
A: Nobody. This is the audio from the music notation program Sibelius. If you'd like to hear a real performance of this piece, I recommend Frans Bruggen's (If you want to skip the introduction with a narration in Dutch, start at 1:14):

Q: Is there a way I could make this kind of animation myself?
A: The Music Animation Machine MIDI file player will generate this kind of display; you can get the (Windows) software here:
There are lots of places on the web where you can get MIDI files; I usually go to the Classical Archives site first:

Q: Could you please do a MAM video of _________?
A: Please read this:


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