Visually Inspired

Visual artists and composers each have their own media for making meaning in the world, but often a work in one art form can be the catalyst for a creation in another art form. Visually Inspired! explores the intimate connection between visual art and music found in works by Canadian composers Serge Garant, Steven Gellman, Melissa Hui, Pierre Mercure, and Alexander Brott.

The composers explain in their own words how these musical compositions were inspired by specific real or imaginary visual images. The listening and learning activities in Visually Inspired! guide students in exploring the elements and principles of design - colour, line, shape and texture – found in these catalyst images. They then examine the different strategies and techniques composers use to "translate", respond to, and extend these elements in a musical medium. Students compose their own music and apply some of the principles introduced during this unit.

Visually Inspired! is designed for students and educators to meet the following objectives:

  • Examine the role of music in connecting what we see to what we hear
  • Explore the strategies composers use to create music inspired by visual images
  • Compose a piece of music inspired by an artwork, or create a piece of artwork inspired by music

The collection begins with a series of listening exercises, each based on a Canadian composition inspired by a visual image or understanding.

Virtual Museum of Canada

To access the Virtual Museum of Canada's complete digital learning resources and lesson plans, visit the VMC Teachers' Centre.