"Styles and Techniques of Synchronization in Audiovisual Media"

Event Info

Colloquium Abstract: In recent decades, digital technologies have enabled increasingly precise and nuanced approaches to synchronization in audiovisual media. Research suggests that synchronization is an important factor in audience members’ assessments of the effectiveness of audiovisual design (e.g., Kim and Iwamiya 2008), but the styles and techniques of synchronization remain under-theorized. I analyze examples from genres such as the music video, audiovisual installation, and the visual music film to define two contrasting styles of synchronization, the dramatic and the choreographic. Dramatic synchronization tends to emphasize musical spans at the level of the phrase or above, and often occurs in genres where music and visuals work together to advance a plot. Choreographic synchronization emphasizes musical units closer to the tactus, generating what I call a musicalized moving image. Within these styles, I identify more specific synchronization techniques. The alignment of musical and visual accents can be regular or intermittent; synchronization can engage one or many elements of musical texture, and rhythmic interplay between musical and visual accents can generate a sense of organized independence between media. I conclude by demonstrating how shifts between synchronization styles and techniques within a single audiovisual work can serve an expressive or dramatic function.

Event Access: This event will take place via Zoom.


About the Artist:

Anna Gawboy is Associate Professor of Music Theory at Ohio State University. Her work explores the intersection of music theory, cultural history, and audiovisual media. In 2010, she collaborated with lighting designer Justin Townsend to create a reconstruction of Alexander Scriabin’s color symphony Prometheus, Poem of Fire, which was most recently performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam in January 2020. In 2018, she collaborated with media designer Alex Oliszewski to create a live visual accompaniment to a performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana at Ohio State University. Dr. Gawboy has published articles in a variety of journals, including Journal of Music Theory, Music Theory Online, Papers of the International Concertina Association, Journal of Musicological Research, Music Theory Spectrum, and Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy. She is the author of nearly two hundred pedagogical videos in music theory, including tutorials accompanying A Concise Introduction to Tonal Harmony by Joe Straus and Poundie Burstein. She was co-founding editor of Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy and an inaugural associate editor of SMT-V, the first videocast journal in music. She currently serves as President of Music Theory Midwest.