Visual Music Essay - 2007 - Maura McDonnell

I am hoping to better gather together essays and articles on visual music and visual music relevant topics in this blog.  I have only recently realised that blogger provides a tag facility, and so posts can be accessed via the tags.  A few such tags I wish to try to provide more posts for is the tags: essay, article, research, writing.  I have come across a lot of good writing - online or otherwise, so I am probably really doing this for myself, so I can quickly get access to them again.  CVM and iotaCenter based in Los Angeles, US provide really good resources and links to excellent resources.  Check them out for more up to date and extensive links.

If you have a link to an excellent essay, piece of writing or resource, I would love to put it in this blog, if you could email me at, I would be delighted to hear from you and to share the resource on this blog.

Dennis H. Miller based in Northeastern University, Boston invited me to write an essay on Visual Music for the program catalog for the Visual Music Marathon held in Boston, US in April in 2007 and then presented fully again in New York, US in April 2009.  The essay was published in both catalogs.  The essay was based on visual music lecture notes I had prepared for a specific set of classes I taught on Visual Music to students attending the Music and Media Technology M.Phil. course at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland (I still present the visual music classes on that course).  At the time, the intention of the lecture notes was to introduce students to visual music and to show them that there was plenty of historical precedents for pursuing a very close relationship between music and image. As the  course has a very strong practical element to it, students have to create their own work.  So the point of the lecture was to provide a context from which they could possibly place their own music and image assignments and if they choose to also pursue this in their final thesis project.  The lecture I gave on visual music did have a very practical focus to it.  I shared these notes with Dennis H. Miller ( and he shared excellent teaching material with me).   Dennis invitation to me was to write up the lecture notes in an essay form.  It was not an easy task (much much easier to jot down notes and talk - as in a teaching situation)!

The essay is an introduction to visual music.   It is definitely not definitive, but it is a start for me to articulate beyond notes.  The essay has many credits from the experts who checked it over for me and to whom I am very grateful.

DOWNLOAD: The visual music essay (without images - text only) can be downloaded here.

The New York Visual Music Marathon - 2009 program booklet can be downloaded from the Northeastern University website, the Visual Music Program Catalog - 2009  includes the visual music essay (not with all images from the print version, but with some) I wrote, but also includes the program note for the 60 or so contemporary works shown at the visual music marathon. 

[Maura McDonnell - author]