About This Blog

Welcome to The Visual Music Blog

This blog is an independent blog and is not affiliated to any organisation or academic institution nor is it funded.  It is a blog that evolved from the author's passion and interest for visual music.

Drawing the clock tower of the
Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin,
now the Irish Museum of Modern Art


As it is with most things in life, there is always a story to tell in why or how someone does something. Like a lot of Irish people, I love a story and I like to tell them, so here goes.

My interest in visual music comes from many angles.  I am a musician, I dabble from time to time in electroacoustic music composition and I write poetry and paint. Discovering that I could put music and image together via computers in 1997 was an incredible moment for me - a light bulb moment, at the time it felt like I had discovered something I had been searching for, all my life.

However, like many others I had no knowledge of other peoples work who worked in a similar approach, nor had I any idea that there was such a rich history of works in which similar aims were at work - exploring the shared artistic expressive space of visual and music intertwined as it were.  I had extensive training in music and music and media technologies.  However, in many of these education courses, a history of interdisciplinary art is not part of the curriculum.  I was fortunate to be able to teach and practice at the same time from 1999 and so my interest and knowledge of the field grew.

I observed something wonderful in 2005, where music and image as a combined expression was starting to really take off in the field of art, with many art works and hybrid/inter-media approaches taking place in film, installation, cinema and performance settings.  The blog was my way to try to keep abreast of all these happenings as they were occurring.  The blog then is very much led by the authors interest in the field.

The blog is also intended to be a space for information gathering but it is hoped that it is also a space that helps others who too are interested in what I believe is this 'beautiful' and 'intriguing' area of visual music.

An aside however. Unfortunately, I was knocked back by severe health problems from 2014 - 2017 and this curtailed my blogging efforts for a time and all activity in relation to visual music.  Recent years have involved my spending time in recuperation and recovery and getting well.  I am very well now however, and so am very happy to be back to the blog again, hence the big tidy up that is taking place presently.  I intend to get this blog into better shape and start connecting with current and contemporary practice once more.  Please do get in touch if you want to share your work/ideas/queries in relation to this blog.  Apologies if you did get in touch during these last few years and I did not reply.

Contact the author

If you have any suggestions for what to add to this blog or to comment or get in touch in relation to the blog, please do not hesitate to contact Maura at:

Similarly, if you wish to have any post that links to your content that you would like to be removed, please do get in touch, and if you want to make any amendments or additions to any post I may have published on your activity and work do get in touch, or if you would just like to get in touch to connect about visual music, then please do.

Warning: I can sometimes by quite slow to reply but I do read all emails and have so many times blogged about a topic or event as a result of an email, so please do get in touch and I will endeavour to get back in touch asap.

Blog History

The visual music blog was set up in 2005 to bookmark websites, take a screen grab of a part of the website as a visual reference to the content, and have a record of  information on the web that was of interest to the topic of visual music.  It was intended to develop further two documents Maura created for teaching purposes, both which were put online in 2002 and 2003.  The first document titled - Colour and Sound - Visual Music was to support one of her lectures given to students studying music and image in 2002.

Link to Colour and Sound webpage:
http://homepage.eircom.net/~musima/visualmusic/visualmusic.htm
The reason for putting the lecture online was to have a html version of the lecture that could be accessed easily in class and it saved me carrying heavy laptops in my commute to teaching.  I liked that html provided links to further resources.  The other document I put online was a pdf of a lecture note given to students in 2003.

Colour and sound website - 2002

Link to pdf of Lecture note on visual music: 
Visual music lecture notes 2003
The pdf lecture notes were created for similar reasons to the colour and sound webpage, I liked that the pdf format created a very tidy looking document!
Visual music lecture notes - 2003

Blogging platform


Looking for solutions to be able to capture what was seen as a very active and emerging field of practice and study, and to be able to manage the documentation of that growth in one place, this blog was set up.  I think this blog was one of the early blogs on the blogger platform.  I have considered moving platform several times but feel it serves the purposes well.  Though the design aspects drive me a bit demented... I have had several themes for this blog since I started in 2005, and my recent adjustments to a blogger theme is what you are seeing now.  The theme platform for blogger at present is quite limited.  I have had to do a lot of code tweaking to get the blog to function a bit more efficiently and still look nice.

PhD

I embarked on a course of study by enrolling on a PhD programme in 2011.  Of course, the topic of my PhD was visual music.  However, this meant that the blog was neglected.  Studying and thinking about doing a PhD was a very engrossing task and to be honest not always very pleasant, but the topic was always wonderful.  I took a break for health reasons from the PhD also but am happy to say I finished the PhD in 2019 - phew!!!

Return to blogging - 2020

It is with great joy that I return to this blog to write, and capture and disseminate some more of the amazing and beautiful work and research and advocacy that many people do in this area and to encourage people to look further into the topic and to keep at the practice.  So if you are new to visual music or are an advanced participant - please keep making your work, doing what you do to research and promote the practice both historical and contemporary.  It is appreciated and we all want to know about it.

Website: https://www.mauramcdonnell.com
Academic Page: https://www.tcd.ie/eleceng/mmt/people/mmcdonn/