Visual music is a type of video art that involves using colored lights and images to interpret the rhythms, lyrics, and melodies of a song. Projectors are frequently used in presentations and exhibits to display artists’ finished works on large screens. Because they consist of images or video clips that do not follow a chronological sequence, many pieces of visual music fall into the category of abstract film. Visual music evolved from equating musical notes with flashes of color rather than a storyline unfolding on a screen, and some of the earliest forms were based on the musical accompaniment to silent films. This type of sound art can also be used in live performances well-known bands or musicians.
Color music is a term used to describe the process of creating images and light sequences to accompany music. When a specific note on a keyboard is played, some artists use color organs, which display a colored light. Mechanical color organs were first experimented with in the 18th century, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that this technology became widely known and perfected. During that decade, many people first saw visual music light shows at rock concerts. The demand for more elaborate visual music displays quickly grew, necessitating the establishment of professional digital art production companies to meet the demand.
Other types of sound art can be found in art galleries, particularly those that specialize in combining music and digital art. Some artists may specialize in complex computer graphic animation set to music they enjoy. Others may be musicians who specialize in writing and recording original compositions that are then paired with color, light, and pattern animations. Visual music artists can also collaborate to create video pieces that combine one artist’s music with another’s digital animations. Because it is so easy to publish video on the Internet, this type of visual art with music is widely accessible outside of traditional art galleries.
Oscilloscopes and synthesizers connected to sets of cathode ray tubes were used in early works of visual art with music. This equipment was typically expensive, and its effective use necessitated a working knowledge of electronics on the part of the artist. The development of more intricate and unique visual music displays is aided advances in digital technology. Artists can now create their pieces without the time-consuming use of expensive specialized analog equipment thanks to the widespread availability of sophisticated computer animation, video editing, and music composition software.