“One does not need to have any formal knowledge of music ‒ nor, indeed, to be particularly ‘musical’ ‒ to enjoy and to respond to it at the deepest levels. Music is part of being human, and there is no human culture in which it is not highly developed and esteemed.” — Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia
With the advent of the internet, many of us are privileged to have easy access to music from legendary names such as Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, and Mozart, whose compositions provide tens of millions of people with inspiration every day.
Thanks to modern composers and educators such as Stephen Malinowski, the music is easier than ever to appreciate and understand. He uses the Music Animation Machine to synchronize popular compositions alongside eye-catching animations. These turn the complex world of classical music into understandable, colorful, and often mesmerizing videos with pioneering educational capabilities.
His process of creating the animations has evolved over time. Recent efforts incorporate elements of Voronoi diagrams “as an analogue to music perception”, dazzle with flashy neon-esque signs, showcase music as a blooming digital flower, mix aural play with geometry, turn compositions into 3D animations with ChromaDepth technology, and make nods towards retro video games.Advertising
Many of these techniques are in use on the 48 preludes and fugues by J.S. Bach he turned into animations during summer 2016. You can read about some of his techniques at Well-Tempered Clavier, or you can visit his YouTube channel smalin. Whether you want to educate yourself about classical music, find some inspiration, or simply relax, his videos will open you up to a vivid world of genius compositions and peace of mind.
This is from the first book of Bach’s the Well-Tempered Clavier (1722) – BWV 847 is one of many Preludes and Fugues in this ambitious set. Malinowski’s video breathes life into the piece with positively luminescent neon flashes.
The second of two piano pieces composed by Frédéric Chopin in 1836, now considered some of his best work. The Voronoi animation style is featured here.
This is also from Bach’s the Well-Tempered Clavier—the animation style features an unrolling spiral which emphasizes the 5-voice, 1-beat stretto at the conclusion of the piece.Advertising
Written in 1886, this would become one of César Franck’s best known works; it’s considered a masterpiece sonata for violin and piano. Malinowski’s epic animation takes the viewer on a wildly colorful journey, featuring pong-like video game sections in a glittering musical landscape of neon lights.
The final movement of Franck’s violin sonata. The animation offers another unique insight into classical music as it features a canon displayed visually.
An easily identifiable work composed in 1866, it’s since been used regularly in popular culture, perhaps most notably in Stanley Kubrick’s landmark 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Beethoven composed this piece circa 1800. Thunderous and fast paced, it’s an exhilarating trip through a geniuses’ musical capabilities.Advertising
In this innovative piece, the performers use guitars with a wide range of playing techniques. Each one can be seen represented on the video.
Composed in 1713, Bach’s piece is often called by numerous names. It’s best known as Sheep May Safely Graze, but it’s officially called Cantata No. 208. As this isn’t likely to sear itself into your memory any time soon, over hundreds of years it’s picked up various catchier nicknames.
Scott Joplin (1867-1917) composed this piece in 1907. It’s Stephen Malinowski performing the lively piece, which was then set to a Voronoi animation.
From a set of six sonatas pieced together in 1727, the organ sonatas are Bach’s reworking of previous cantatas, organ pieces, and chamber music. Although several hundred years old, when matched with this colorful animation it’s made strikingly contemporary.Advertising
Claude Debussy was in his twenties when he composed the Deux Arabesques. The first remains one of the most easily recognizable piano pieces in modern times. Here it’s been set to v-ring technology – a partial ring with variable attributes which, after some experimentation, led Malinowski to the above effect.
Leopold Godowsky’s (1870–1938) take on Chopin’s work is notable for its playing demands. As Malinowski explains: “Chopin’s original etudes presented certain technical challenges, but Godowsky’s versions present challenges that go far beyond Chopin’s. For example, in this one, the speed of the fast-moving notes is doubled from the original, and the piece is played completely by the left hand.” This is also, apparently, not even the most challenging piece from Godowsky’s rearrangements!
This rousing composition from Bach offers, when complemented by the animation, another example as to why classical music can lift the spirits like nothing else.
This is a modern composition from film soundtrack composer Ante Božić Kudrić.
Finally, we have this hypnotic video which shows off Pachelbel’s Canon in D as never before. The piece was likely composed late in the 17th century, but was lost to obscurity for hundreds of years afterwards. It’s now arguably one of the most well known pieces of classical music. The video highlights each note of the melody fading in and out as each violin joins in with the canon, with the legendary (and, occasionally, notorious) bass repeating itself in the center.
Last Updated on November 12, 2020
13 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory
Life is made up of memories, what you have seen, heard, and done. Every bit of information you take in is only useful if you can remember it at the right time. How can you improve memory and ensure information is there when you need it?
There are many scientific theories and observations on how memories work. These theories provide us with an understanding of how feelings, routine, context, and recollection affect our memories. Here are some tips backed by scientific insights for improving memory.
1. Method of Loci
Method of Loci is a popular mnemonic technique that helps you recollect a large amount of information. It works by utilizing your spatial and navigational skills as you envision your memories as part of a geographical entity. This is the technique that the famous fictional detective Sherlock calls the Mind Palace.
This method is extremely useful when you are preparing for a speech or an exam. Here is how you can make use of it:
- Visualize a space you are most familiar with. It could be your home, your favorite park, or your school.
- Construct the rooms, shelves, furniture, and everything inside it in your mind.
- Imagine yourself keeping the items you want to remember in each of the rooms or in/on/around specific objects.
- Next time you want to remember something, walk through room by room to recall what you placed there.
Repeating this exercise has proven to be a great way to improve memory and remember loads of information with ease.
You can learn more about this method in this article: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything
Acronyms are proven to be very effective in memorizing a group of words. Research has shown that our brains are better at retrieving things when we associate meaning to them. This is why recollecting a single meaningful word or phrase is easy compared to trying to remember a list of words.
For instance, to memorize the directions on the compass, you can use the acronym NEWS (North, East, West, and South); or, when you want to remember the Great Lakes basin, you can make us of the acronym HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior), etc.
Make up your own acronyms to the list of things you want to remember. All you need to do is list the things that you want to memorize and arrange them in an order such that the first letter of each word spells a real word.
There is a reason why rhymes are still a popular way to teach kids. Our brains are great at acoustic encoding, which means breaking down sound structures. We can easily remember stuff when they sound similar.
The peg method can help you out. You first need to memorize the list in the exact order given below:
one = bun
two = shoe
four = door
five = hive
six = sticks
seven = heaven
eight = gate
nine = vine
ten = hen
After you have memorized this list, now connect the first word to bun, second word to shoe, and so on. This will help you in making a memorable connection.
Another way is to construct rhymes on the information you want to remember. For instance, if you want to remember that Mr. Jones runs a real-estate business, you can remember him with a rhyme:Mr. Jones from Homes.
Although this may seem a bit weird and funny, this method will help you to improve memory overall.
This is a useful technique to help you stay sharp in many everyday scenarios, like remembering shopping lists. This is a visualization and association technique where you associate meaning to visual imagery. However, it is important to ensure that the images stored in your mind are as vivid as possible.
For instance, if you want to remember a set of items, just link them up in a story. Let’s say that you want to remember the South England countries: Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Somerset, Surrey, and Wiltshire.
You can link all these countries in the form of a story to improve memory. An AVON lady is looking for a house. She is sweating and thirsty due to high SUMMER (Somerset). Along the way, she came across a giant CORN (Cornwall), but it is about to WILT (Wiltshire), etc.
Very few people bother to remember phone numbers by heart nowadays. But what if you lose your contacts and need a way to recollect those long numbers? This memory technique will be handy in those situations.
Chunking is basically breaking down the information into smaller pieces that are easy to remember. Start with a small number, say 379372518. Break it to three chunks 378 372 518. Improve your skills every day by trying to remember more numbers this way.
6. Write It Down
Writing stimulates your reticular activating system (RAS). So whenever you are trying to learn something and improve memory, try writing it down. Review what you have written and test yourself.
You can also hand draw memory maps to further develop your memorization power.
7. Be Busy
Repeat all your brain exercises regularly and keep testing yourself to get better. A recent study revealed that our brain needs to be busy to keep itself fit as well.
Test yourself repeatedly if you want to retain the correct information for the longest time.
Take walks or indulge in some physical activities as well. Research shows that healthy people who exercise regularly have better memories than those who don’t.
8. Give Yourself a Good Sleep
Sleeping is very much necessary if you want to improve memory. A tired body that lacks sleep will not be able to recollect or retain information effectively. Rest well and make sure your body and mind are rejuvenated every day.
Furthermore, studies show that a lack of sleep can increase risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Do your body and mind a favor and get a good night’s sleep as often as possible.
9. Eat Healthy
Try to include more memory-boosting fruits and vegetables into a healthy diet to improve memory. A study conducted by Harvard medical school backs this as well. Scientists believe that the antioxidants and vitamins from vegetables and fruits help to reduce oxidative stress in the brain and help battle age-related memory issues.
Learn about the brain foods you should include in your diet: 12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health
10. Play Video Games and Brain Training Apps
Now here is a fun way to improve memory. Playing video games may not seem the best way to study for an exam, but regular video game playing can actually improve certain memory-associated regions of the brain. Studies have shown that video games helps in total knowledge recall and can reduce dementia risk.
Considering the benefits, maybe you can make brain training apps a regular pastime or something to do on your breaks.
11. Think of the Ways in Which Things Relate to You
According to a recent research, you can boost your memory considerably by contemplating why the information is important to you. This signals your brain to convert the short-term memories into long-term ones, thus helping you remember effortlessly.
12. Exercise Regularly
You might not see this coming, but people who exercise daily, whether it be leisurely walking or long-distance running, have better memories when compared to their counterparts who do no physical activity.
If you’re really interested in learning how to improve memory, shoot for aerobic exercises to reduce cognitive decline and increase blood flow.
13. Pay Attention to Essence
Although practice makes perfect, this might not necessarily be true when it comes to boosting memory. Scientists have found that while repetitive practice could help you in remembering things, you might miss out on the bigger picture.
Do you remember that one presentation when you memorized everything by heart without giving much thought to it? What happened next? Someone interrupted in the middle, and you were not able to recall information after.
Thus, rote repetition will not do any good. You need to complement repetition through a proper understanding of the finer details.
The Bottom Line
Sharpening your memory is not rocket science. All you need to do is follow the fun and simple ways mentioned above to improve memory, and eat right to boost your brain health!
For more tips on boosting your memory, check out the following video:
More on How to Improve Memory
- How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter
- 13 Simple Memory Tricks To Help You Remember Anything Easily
- How to Boost Creativity: Secrets of the Creative Brain
Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com