“The Creatures of Prometheus” is a generative visualization of the ballet composed in 1801 by Beethoven. It was created as part of a series of self-initiated studies by Simon Russell that explore the connection between audios and visuals. Russell was assisted by Alex Eckford, Greg Felton, and Alan Martyn. It can be found at http://www.creativeapplications.net/sound/the-creatures-of-prometheus-generative-visualisation-of-beethovens-ballet-with-houdini/. The visualization is entertaining to watch and it makes the audience think about their conceptions of music and color. I also think that the little stick figure composer at the bottom is adorable.
According to the website, the “animation is driven mainly through a MIDI file. The Houdini setup reads the notation and emits particles using the pitch to derive their height and amplitude to derive their speed. As the volume of each note increases it also effects the colour emitted.” The setup also takes into account the previous note when determining the height of the current note. The little conductor is keyframed, but his movements are exaggerated depending on the volume.
The creator could have been inspired by the idea of synesthesia, which is a phenomenon where two senses are intertwined so that people can see music or hear colors. The creator also could have been inspired by Disney’s Fantasia 2000, which beautifully gives visuals to many classical musical compositions. Regardless of possible inspirations, it’s very clear that the creator has a love for visuals, music, computation, and the combinations thereof.