Document Type



Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts (HMC)

Publication Date

Winter 2005


In the late 1980s and early 1990s I was privileged to work with the computer animation pioneer John Whitney Sr. and was profoundly influenced by his ideas on how to apply musical concepts of harmony to visual arts of motion. at the time of his death in 1995, he and I were planning composition software in which an artist could apply these concepts to create harmonic patterns simultaneously in sound and animation.
Though this idea was never realized beyond certain tests, I have taken this step in my subsequent work in computer-generated music and video in ways inspired by, if distinct from, Whitney's early artworks. This article examines ways in which Whitney's ideas can be applied to musical composition, and in particular to ways in which I have extrapolated principles from these ideas to create an artistic correspondence between abstract animation and computer music.

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© 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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