Beethoven’s 5th: Watch an Animated Graphical Score

Stephen Mali­nows­ki is a self-described “Music Ani­ma­tion Machine,” with a pen­chant for cre­at­ing ani­mat­ed graph­i­cal scores. Above, he does his thing with the first move­ment of Beethoven’s Sym­pho­ny 5.

How does he make this mag­ic? Mali­nows­ki writes: “There were a lot of steps; here’s a short sum­ma­ry. I found a record­ing I could license and made the arrange­ments to use it. I found a MIDI file that was fair­ly com­plete, and import­ed that into the nota­tion pro­gram Sibelius. I com­pared it to a print­ed copy of the score from my library and fixed things that were wrong… Then, I lis­tened to the record­ing and com­pared that to the score, and mod­i­fied the score so that the tim­ings were more like what the orches­tra was actu­al­ly play­ing. I export­ed this as a MIDI file and ran it through my cus­tom frame-ren­der­ing soft­ware. Then, I made a “reduc­tion” of the score and col­ored it to match the col­ors I was plan­ning to use in the bar-graph score. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, when I squished the bar-graph score enough to make room for the nota­tion score, too much detail was lost, so I end­ed up decid­ing not to use the nota­tion. Then I put all the pieces (ren­dered frames, audio, titles) togeth­er in Adobe Pre­miere and export­ed the movie as a Quick­Time file. Then, I used On2 Flix to con­vert the final file into Flash for­mat (so that YouTube’s con­ver­sion to their Flash for­mat would­n’t change it in unpre­dictable ways), and uploaded the result.”


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Comments (3)
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  • David Stone says:

    Genius! Thanks for going to all the trou­ble to make this. I can’t read music, but this makes so much sense.

  • Stephen Malinowski says:

    I’ve done many of these for Beethoven’s music, includ­ing all the string quar­tets and recent­ly, one of his late piano sonatas. And lots for oth­er com­posers (well over a thou­sand so far). I tried to include links, but they were reject­ed as spam. My YouTube chan­nel sma­lin has most of them. I’ll see if I can fig­ure out how to put some links here.

  • harri says:

    1968 , high school music appre­ci­a­tion class taught a sim­i­lar ren­di­tion of a print­ed (no copy machines or com­put­ers) graph­ic expla­na­tion of Eroica. This is a bril­liant expla­na­tion of a musi­cal score & should be etched in stur­dy rust proof met­al with puc­tures of the instru­ments in the event of anoth­er bib­li­cal apoc­a­lypse.

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