When do you want beat-synced visuals (and when not)?

Sometimes, even though there is a clear repetitive pattern in both the audio and the visuals, you can make the aesthetic choice not to align them.

I woud be interested to hear some opinions on how to to describe or classify the scenarios where you explicitly don’t want beats and visuals to be aligned.

I think this is a very interesting question. In my opinion, whenever there is a beat it is natural to align the lights and/or visuals to the beat. The interesting parts emerge of course when the alignment is varied over time, and when different combinations of aligned and unaligned lights come together.

That’s an interesting point. I haven’t consciously tested working with non-rhythmical content (or compositions) alongside beat-quantized content a lot yet, but I can see an analogy to Delay Time settings in plugins like Ableton’s Filter Delay. You can set it to synced or non-synced mode, in the latter case, in a way, you have aligned content together with non-aligned content in one set.

This would mean that in our software, we should always provide synced and non-synced options when it comes to time settings :slight_smile:

I am researching the work of Oskar Fischinger and came upon a quote very relevant to this thread. The text comes from William Moritz (2004), “Optical Poetry, The Life and Work of Oskar Fischinger”, page 185, and quoted there from a document that Fischinger wrote about his film “Motion Painting no. 1”.


This music, concerto by Bach, is like a smooth river flowing on the side of open fields -
“And what you see – is not translated music, because music doesn’t need to be translated on the screen – to the Eyes music is in itself enough – but the optical part is like we walk on the side of the river – sometimes we go a little bit farther off (away) but we come back and go along on this river, the concerto by Bach.”
The optical part is no perfect synchronization of every wave of the river – it is a very free walk, nothing is forced, nothing is synchronized except in great steps.

The film is in some parts perfectly synchronized with the music, but in other parts it runs free – without caring much about the music – it is like a pleasant walk on the side of a river – If the river springs, we on the side do not necessarily spring to it – but go our own free way – sometimes we even go a little bit away from the river and later come back to it and love it so much more – because we were away from it. Sometimes we go up a little while while on the side of the river and the river goes low through a tunnel or under a bridge but we are all the time with the river near the river we hear the sound of the river, and we love it and the river is the music of Bach. And what we see are the fields"

That is a brilliant quote @axeg, thanks for that!

My first question would be: if the music pulses with a 4/4 rhythm and the visuals pulses with a 4/4 rhythm, but the visual rhythm is 5% slower than the musical rhythm, are we following the river at a distance or are we simply being completely disharmonious?

In the latter case, if we don’t have the technical ability to make the rhythms match, should we completely disregard rhythmic visualisation until we do have that ability? I personally believe that to be the case.