Musical Eyes: Sound on Vision

It’s no secret that music is a common well of inspiration from which artists drink, taking in audio, exporting image. But I’ve often wondered if the source is flowing in both directions. Do musicians use the visual arts in a similar fashion as artists use sound?

Musical Eyes is the beginning of a new feature exploring just that, the relationship musicians have with visual art. I’ll be asking them to share with us art that they find intriguing enough to be influenced by or surround themselves with or simply love. Are there direct correlations between paintings and albums? Are they making art of their own simultaneously? Do visions of their own sound ever become fully realized?

Musical Eyes. I think sometimes that my lack of Musical ear, is made good to me through my eyes. That which others hear, I see. All the soothing plaintive brisk or romantic moods which corresponding melodies waken in them, I find in the carpet of the wood, in the margin of the pond, in the shade of the hemlock grove, or in the infinite variety & rapid dance of the treeptops as I hurry along.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson (Journal entry, 1838)

Imagine, if you will, what Emerson might have talked about with Chopin on an afternoon walk. Or asked Schumann in a hand-crafted letter? I can only hope the two would be better for having talked and walk away from the experience with more to think about than they arrived with. Let’s see where this thought leads us, let’s explore sound on vision.

Look for the first edition next week, when Pandit discusses landscape photography.


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Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2011