Visual Music

Mary Ellen Bute © Center for Visual Music

The history of Visual Music on film has roots in Italy c. 1911 with the experiments of  Futurists Bruno Corra and Arnaldo Ginna (now lost), and in Germany in the 1920s absolute film movement, with the films of Viking Eggeling, Walther Ruttmann and Oskar Fischinger. From this began decades of experimentation on film, then later videotape and digital media.

Dr. William Moritz wrote of “A music for the eye comparable to the effects of sound for the ear.”  He asked us to contemplate, “What are the visual equivalents of melody, harmony, rhythm and counterpoint?”  Today there are a number of definitions as the field rapidly expands, with work in multiple types of media exploring the varied correspondences between image and sound.