How music can come alive with geometry and tech

24 Oct 2019

Pierre Blaise Dionet Image: Conor McCabe Photography

At Inspirefest 2019, Pierre Blaise Dionet argued that the approach to teaching and performing music should be interdisciplinary.

Hearing a stunning musical performance can be the first vital step towards a child developing a long-held passion for music.

A nimble-fingered guitar player or expressive pianist can go a long way towards inspiring someone to pursue music as a hobby, or maybe even a career. Yet some of the staler elements of learning music – the repetition, the notation, the theory – can prove to be a turn off. There’s no way around this though, right?

Pierre Blaise Dionet does not believe this is the case. It certainly wasn’t how he came to learn instruments– his childhood piano teacher focused less on musical notes and more on particular textures and emotions, and how to emulate those. In fact, there are a lot of “great musicians”, Dionet went on to explain, who can play music but cannot read a single note.

For him, music really came alive when he began to view it in a more abstract manner, and he encourages visualising it as such. Music need not be just something on a page – it can be considered in terms of shapes and likened to a three-dimensional object. Harmonies can be delineated in terms of the emotion they convey.

Reflecting on some of the great jazz musicians (and Dionet’s personal favourites) such as Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, Dionet demonstrated the ways that viewing music through this abstract lens can provide a level of understanding that looking at it as a purely linear process cannot provide.

Dionet also discussed turning it into a multi-sensory experience, allowing it to escape the bounds of being just an aural sensation. Much in the same way that language is a more fluid concept – not isolated to merely words, but also defined by tone, intonation, expression and even movement – he said that music should have the same fluidity and be expressed in a more complex manner in order to convey it fully.

To watch Dionet’s talk in full, check out his Inspirefest 2019 presentation above.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic