Visible Language

A project that aimed to use data visualisation to describe a piece of music. I chose the song; ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet’ — composed by Gavin Bryars.

Bryars, takes the voice of an elderly homeless man using it as a core instrument in his moving piece. The song includes simple lyrics repeated on a loop. It begins initially with the fragile voice of the elderly homeless man which becomes gradually overshadowed by a professional voice and evolving orchestra.

Bryars’ comments on the emotion in the man’s voice, “ [it] convinced me of the emotional power of the music…through gradually evolving, orchestral accompaniment that respects the tramp’s nobility and simple faith”.

For my final outcome, I chose to focus on the context and vocals of the song. To show how the song evolved, I used a circular shape to represent the repetitive loop. The indented shapes are illustrative of where the stresses fall in the lyrics.

For the materials, I used both old and new bibles. The old bibles represented the fragility of the homeless man’s voice and new bibles conveyed the more robust voice of the professional singer.

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