The Correspondence Between Composition in Fine Arts and Music throughout History [article]

Aleksey Nikolsky
This study explores a novel approach to estimating a timeline of the evolution of music by establishing the commonalities between the principles of spatial organization of pictorial composition in works of visual art and the principles of tonal organization of music composition in music works. The cross-modal features of perception of music allow musicians and listeners to envisage melodic motion and harmonic progressions in a peculiar virtual space, where the height axis is associated with
more » ... uency, the width - with time, and the depth - with music texture, i.e., the number of simultaneously active parts and/or voices. The available evidence from psychophysiological research suggests that capacity of music to trigger spatial representation constitutes a cross-cultural phenomenon biologically rooted in the shared mechanisms of perception of pitch contours of music parts and visual contours of pictorial and real-life objects. Hence, drawing parallels between the typologies of visual composition in works of realistic art, on the one hand, and the typologies of music texture and schemes of harmonic organization in music compositions, on the other hand, might reveal patterns of tonal organization of music that otherwise are hard to identify. This line of inquiry is especially beneficial for the reconstruction of prehistoric music that lacks direct documentation, other than the disposition of holes on the earliest wind musical instruments excavated by archaeologists. Prehistoric artworks, in contrast, present a well documented source for charting a timeline of evolution of spatial organization through establishing patterns and schemes of pictorial representation of perceptual reality. Matching of such schemes to the typological schemes of tonal organization of music of those indigenous ethnicities that maintain the lifestyle and inhabit environments similar to prehistoric people can potentially help detect the general course of the evolution of music and sketch its global history in a manner similar to existing histo [...]
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.15081477.v1 fatcat:mc6iigqtvrghvbbryfkdh7qx7y