Harmonographs, linking sight to sound…

…and a DJ set.

A week ago I stumbled across a little book I had received as a gift several years ago which I had forgotten all about. Published by Wooden Books, “Harmonograph – a visual guide to the mathematics of music” by Anthony Ashton is, as London Review of Books wrote, “beautiful”.

The Harmongraph dates back to 1844 and is a simple scientific wooden instrument which draws pictures of musical harmonies, linking sight to sound. These days a quick search on line will provide you with free software to create your own drawings. Below is the original heart drawing I created using Virtual Harmonograph. I then used Photoshop to create the final image above.

Sight and sound indeed. I  find it so interesting how different harmonies in music can evoke different emotions within us. Can drawings from the Harmonograph visually represent these same emotions?

And yes believe it or not the above face is from a Harmonograph (original drawing below). I know I’ve Photoshopped it quite a bit to highlight the face more but none the less I’m finding this very, well, a mix of disturbing and spiritual. Not wanting to sound like a hippy or someone whose taken too many drugs here but WOW, a certain combination of harmonies creates a face! And what a face. Is it a bee, a fish, a rabbit, a cat? It goes on. A generic face with what appears to be a third eye! I’m becoming too transfixed with this image and it’s causing me to think about the universe and creation which is never a good thing for ones constitution unless you’re on a Buddhist retreat somewhere in India or the Himalayas, or Corwen!

Time for some music to go with the images. Here’s a DJ set recorded earlier in the year…

Track List: