The Getty: “A New York Soundtrack for a New York Painting”

Mural, 1943, Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956). Oil on canvas, 8’ ¼” x 19’ 10”. University of Iowa Museum of Art, Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6 Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa

“[W]e’re using the Getty Center’s late summer hours to explore the connections between music and the visual arts. Having such a vibrant painting like Pollock’s Mural on view gives us an especially wonderful opportunity to understand how music and art operate as artistic mediums in relation to each other.”

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Tree Growth Rings Translated to Music

Artist Bartholomäus Traubeck says of this work, titled Years “[a] tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently. This record features seven recordings from different Austrian trees. They were generated on the Years installation in Vienna, January 2012.”

Does this constitute creative composition, or merely programming?

What would happen if the music were transcribed to traditional notation for live players?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it sing this song?