Sound Waves: Patterning Sonatas

“If, at first, you are unsure as to what you are looking at, you are not alone. On their own, these fantastic drawings by Jorinde Voigt allow for several interpretations. One could presume that they are diagrams of wind patterns or ocean currents, or even the model for a physics equation gone awry. They are none of the above.

Actually, these undulating forms are a sort of graph. They are created through a combination of freehand intuition and emotional interpretation on the artist’s part. Each drawing represents the intonations and dynamic notations of Beethoven’s sonatas for solo piano, 1 through 32, extracted after translating from German to either English or Italian. The main structures of the drawings are built up from these translated intonations, or what Voigt calls ‘extracted progressions’.

The swooping lines all emerge from a series of epicenters, or ‘internal centres’, representing the inner compass of the piece. Each internal centre is connected through an axis that churns the lines into a vortex. All of the lines within each drawing are connected to this axis. The ‘external centres’, on the opposite end of the spectrum, refer to outside influences that have affected the creation of the piece: geographical or social changes that have altered the emotional interpretation of each sonata. These external influences, adapting with her own emotional reactions as she listens to the music, are what allow Voigt’s patterns to remain fresh and non-repetitive.”