My start date was July 17th for Walking in Memphis. I finished on the 20th of August. Most of my final thoughts on this artwork are in the YouTube video, but I will add a few more comments.
The piano and strings in this arrangement are the interactive parts of this artwork created using the software MuseScore. In my video, I mentioned that the strings are the voice of the music. I’ll add that the piano part of the arrangement connects Marc Cohn’s video to the artwork. I now see sound as a transformational tool. I once viewed adding music to my artworks as a selling gimmick for art fairs. Nothing sold. At less the non-paying public enjoyed it, although saying “Push the button to hear the music,” grew tiresome. What changed where the enthusiastic comments at ArtsWest’s Africa, and Mozart’s Turkish March at the Trout Museum. A staff person at the ArtsWest library, at pickup, asked to play Africa on our way out of the library.
My first serious music notation software, Noteflight. For years I used it only to create the arrangements of the music I painted. My first added sound came with my little Beethoven 5th first four notes artworks. I had found a recordable small plastic battery-operated soundbox with a half-watt speaker within an extension wired push button. In 2018 using the software, Musescore, and soundbox enhancements, the music from this 1inch flat speaker sounds good on The Turkish March, and 2019’s ArtsWest artwork Africa.
After Africa, in early 2019 I created the jazz artwork Giant Steps whose style came from 2017’s Miles Davis artwork, So What (Which I agree). Giant Steps I believe I never considered adding music because of the limits of the soundbox and MuseScore’s synthesizer to replicate this Jazz masterpiece. After Giant, I painted Over the Rainbow another experimental work based on the So What style. From the blog entries adding music was a low priority. That changed with Schindler’s List.
The largest in a long while, and a statement piece, I knew this music needed a higher quality sound to match its size. Through research, I found a two-watt stereo amp that I could store and play a music file. Instead of a flat one-inch speaker I now can power two, three-inch speaker placed inside their own custom made speaker boxes. It required soldering. I am getting better.
Next up came Mercy Me, a self-inflicted obligation project that I saw as a long shot for a local environmental exhibition. The song Mercy, Mercy Me was my first choice for this show. My choice of music and time restraints made adding sound only a consideration. Mercy, Mercy Me, did not show. I never created a sound file.
With The Blue Danube, I returned to doing artworks for me. From the start of Schindler’s List, I knew I wanted to add a music file. In fact, this artwork is a turning point. From Blue Danube and Walking In Memphis onward finding the right music for a sound file is as important as finding what music to portray.
One final thought on Walking in Memphis: this music by Marc Cohn is the first song on Spotify’s playlist, One-hit Wonders.
Maybe this artwork will someday be a wonder on its own playlist of Greatest Hits.
Scott Von Holzen