Off the Staff

An experiment in visualizing notes from music scores

$27.80 / 24″ × 36″

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Seeing music

I can't read music but I can parse it. The talent of reading music has always escaped me which is a little ironic considering I grew up in a musical family. However, I've always enjoyed how sheet music looks so I took a shot at visualizing the notes from musical scores and the result is this series of posters. How they were made »

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Allegro
Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Allegro
Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Allegro con brio
Symphony No. 5, Ludwig van Beethoven

Allegro con brio
Symphony No. 5, Ludwig van Beethoven

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Canon in D
Johann Pachelbel

Canon in D
Johann Pachelbel

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The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons: Autumn
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons: Autumn
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons: Spring
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons: Spring
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons: Summer
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons: Summer
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons: Winter
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons: Winter
Antonio Vivaldi

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Hallelujah
Messiah, George Frideric Handel

Hallelujah
Messiah, George Frideric Handel

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Symphonie fantastique
Hector Berlioz

Symphonie fantastique
Hector Berlioz

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William Tell Overture
Gioachino Rossini

William Tell Overture
Gioachino Rossini

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Black and white

Some scores were composed only for one instrument so only a black and white version was made for them.

Allegro
Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Allegro
Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Allegro con brio
Symphony No. 5, Ludwig van Beethoven

Allegro con brio
Symphony No. 5, Ludwig van Beethoven

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Canon in D
Johann Pachelbel

Canon in D
Johann Pachelbel

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The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons: Autumn
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons: Autumn
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons: Spring
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons: Spring
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons: Summer
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons: Summer
Antonio Vivaldi

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The Four Seasons: Winter
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons: Winter
Antonio Vivaldi

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Für Elise
Ludwig van Beethoven

Für Elise
Ludwig van Beethoven

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Goldberg Variations
Johann Sebastian Bach

Goldberg Variations
Johann Sebastian Bach

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Goldberg Variations
Johann Sebastian Bach

Goldberg Variations
Johann Sebastian Bach

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Hallelujah
Messiah, George Frideric Handel

Hallelujah
Messiah, George Frideric Handel

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La Cathédrale Engloutie
Claude Debussy

La Cathédrale Engloutie
Claude Debussy

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Moonlight
Sonata No. 14, Ludwig van Beethoven

Moonlight
Sonata No. 14, Ludwig van Beethoven

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Prélude
Cello Suite No. 1, Johann Sebastian Bach

Prélude
Cello Suite No. 1, Johann Sebastian Bach

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Rondo Alla Turca (Turkish March)
Piano Sonata No. 11, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Rondo Alla Turca (Turkish March)
Piano Sonata No. 11, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Symphonie fantastique
Hector Berlioz

Symphonie fantastique
Hector Berlioz

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Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
Johann Sebastian Bach

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
Johann Sebastian Bach

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William Tell Overture
Gioachino Rossini

William Tell Overture
Gioachino Rossini

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How they were made

Each dot represents a note in the score. Pitch is indicated by the distance from the center of the image, while the time at which the note occurs is given by the angle from the 12 o'clock position. The size of the dot indicates the duration of the note, and the color of the dot is different for each instrument. The colors of the dots are different for each instrument, and are selected from a complementary palette designed to reflect the theme of the piece.

Scores for single instruments use a single color. See Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star for a simple example below.

How images for single instruments were made

Scores for multiple instruments use color as an added dimension to differentiate instruments. See the variation on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star below. Single color versions are also available.

How images for multiple instruments were made

Continue reading » More about how they were made including early versions and tools used.


Sources


Press

Published September 6, 2016


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