Visual Music Systems

View all blog posts

Hearing with your eyes

Hearing With Your Eyes A sensory experience, not a logical experience Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Visual music is a sensory experience, not a logical experience. Imagine listening to Beethoven and thinking how the French horns sound like your grandmother’s car. That type of thinking uses the wrong part of your brain …

Hearing with your eyes Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Visual music is not music visualization

Visual Music is Not Music Visualization Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Imagine a percussion piece. All drums, nothing else. Then the arranger adds in a piano. But, instead of letting the pianist explore the range of the piano, the arranger has the pianist track the drums note for note, beat for beat. …

Visual music is not music visualization Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Analogies between visual music and audio music

What are the corollaries between visual and audio music? Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Audio music does not translate directly to visual music, no more than a drum composition can dictate the piano solo. Yet, there are corollaries between many elements of musical composition and visual music. What follows aren’t rules but …

Analogies between visual music and audio music Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Playing live

Playing Live Giving visual musicians instantaneous control Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Most visual art is art is created and then viewed. The painter finishes the painting and then you view it. The film maker finishes production and then you view it. This creates a separation of the consciousness of perceiving the …

Playing live Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The language of visual music

The Language of Visual Music Crafting a vocabulary and grammar Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian We are constructing a language of visual music. This language relies on non-symbolic communication. Rather than relying on past experiences and taught words to help viewers understand our language, we are communicating through feelings and sensations. This …

The language of visual music Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Creating visual music in 4D

Creating Visual Music in 4D Time as the fourth dimension in visual music Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian When we create visual music we aren’t creating in 3D—we are creating in 4D. In addition to creating in an up and down, left and right, back and forth world we are also creating …

Creating visual music in 4D Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Motion without sickness in VR

Motion Without Sickness in Virtual Reality Smart designing can create movements without motion sickness in VR Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Anyone who has put on a head mounted display like the Oculus has probably gotten motion sickness at one point or another. Smart designing however can create movement without motion sickness …

Motion without sickness in VR Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Am I moving? How to create a sense of movement in VR

Am I Moving? How to create a sense of movement in VR Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian The sensation of movement in visual music is what gives the viewer a sense of rhythm and the physical sensation of being in the environment. Yet, convincing the viewer’s brain that he is moving and …

Am I moving? How to create a sense of movement in VR Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peripheral vision in VR

Peripheral Vision in VR Using the corners of your eyes Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian One of the most fun design considerations for VR is how to work with peripheral vision. Most two dimensional designs focus on the central 70 degrees of your vision. That central part is where almost all of …

Peripheral vision in VR Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Screen size and design in VR

Screen size and design in VR How jumping in screen size from a TV to VR affects zoom and scene cuts Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Turns out the first TV screens were really small—and the original movie screens weren’t that much better if you were in the back row. VR environments …

Screen size and design in VR Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stopping time

Stopping Time Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian It was the early 1980s, maybe 1981. Bill had a fellowship type position at the University of Mass in Boston at the Center for Media Development. The university had a full television studio and state of the art audio equipment. About four levels below their …

Stopping time Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Going solo

Going Solo When Bill learned to play the OVC as a solo instrument Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian It was 1979. Bill was performing with Sun Ra’s Arkestra at the SoundScapes Performance Center on West 55th street in Manhattan. The band was doing breakdowns. Players were being called on to solo while …

Going solo Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seeing color in a HMD

Seeing color in a HMD What happens when an artist controls the light? Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Light does not have color—and our perception of color is relative. You might not notice this in a brightly lit room but put on a HMD and you can create new colors and manipulate …

Seeing color in a HMD Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The ephemeral nature of color in VR

The ephemeral nature of color in VR How our eyes’ adaptations affect our art Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Virtual reality artists have the freedom to manipulate viewers’ perceptions of colors by controlling how many colors and what colors are shown at once (check out our earlier blog for more). They also face a …

The ephemeral nature of color in VR Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Inventing colors in VR

Inventing colors in VR: How to create colors that don’t exist in the real world Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian In environments where an artist has total control over the optics, colors can be created which do not exist in normal environments. Blues can be created that are more blue; reds that …

Inventing colors in VR Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Creating colors in a shadow world

Creating colors in a shadow world Virtual reality in the scotopic range Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian When you work in a range too dark for the cones in the eyes to perceive, you can create images that the viewer half sees and half imagines. This is designing in the scotopic range, …

Creating colors in a shadow world Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Are alternative realities politically incorrect?

Are alternative realities politically incorrect? Visual music in the age of Trump Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian I have been bored by reality for a long time. I am annoyed that the images presented to my eyes are formed by photons bouncing off surfaces without regard to how they make me feel, …

Are alternative realities politically incorrect? Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dr. Seuss and visual music

Dr. Seuss and Visual Music Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Besides Sun Ra, Dr. Seuss has been one of the biggest influences on the creation of the OVC-3D and on Bill’s approach to music and reality. The Cat in the Hat was released in 1957 when Bill was just learning to read. Back then, …

Dr. Seuss and visual music Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The perseverance in creativity

The perseverance in creativity Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian There are lots of theories out there about creativity from Skinner’s theory that creative people are no more original than a chicken laying an egg to theories of divinely inspired creativity. Here are some of our musings on the topic. Creativity is about …

The perseverance in creativity Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mastering the moving target

Mastering the moving target Musicianship in the digital age Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Back in the 1970s, computers were clunky and the only way to make visual music was with a towering, looming machine. Flash forward to the age of super powerful computers, virtual reality headsets, and software that can create …

Mastering the moving target Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Logic and making visual music

Logic and Making Visual Music Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Our goal in creating visual music is to share a world beyond the logical, rational world that our eyes usually show us. Yet there is a logic, a structure, in the process of creating the art. Visual music has this duality at …

Logic and making visual music Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why the OVC?

Why the OVC? Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Music is an act of discovery, more than a craft. Yes, you have to learn how to hit all of the notes, play all of the chords but the point is what you are going to do with all of those notes and chords. …

Why the OVC? Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meeting Sun Ra

Meeting Sun Ra Back to blog Blog post by Rose Sebastian Back in the early 1970s, Bill was living in Boston and beginning to experiment with visual music. His friend Jim Washington was helping him explore obscure Japanese novels and fringe jazz music. One day he told Bill that there was an artist playing downtown …

Meeting Sun Ra Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment