Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (whole symphony, radial process)

Ode to Joy

These drawings were commissioned by Forage Press, an online publication that “celebrates the union between audio and visual creativity.” Participating artists were asked to interpret a distinct form or piece of music and tell its story with visual imagery.

Building on the generative processes that make my wind drawings, I created a new system to draw based on music. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor was a natural choice for this project. It is one of my favorite pieces of music and if you ever hear it performed live, I promise that your eyes will fill with tears in the fourth movement as the orchestra quickens the pace and the voices of the chorus rise above it.

I ended up with two drawing methods: one where marks are made starting at the center and spiral out, the other where marks are made within a rectangular field.

These drawings are a performance written in code. Frequency bands were given a visual voice; the marks you see are based on a simple theme which applies the same rules to a system that creates a unique drawing. The music’s depth can be seen in the layers of line and color and if you know the music you may be able to see why one movement's drawing looks different from another.