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Eine Kleine Nachtfractal


Listen to Mozart by Renata SpiazziThe melodic recursiveness of most music, especially as manifested in the crystalline, almost-mathematical purity of Mozart compositions, suggests the presence of fractal-like structures that exist both in time and the frequency domain - structures that are both solid and ephemeral, logical and otherworldly.

Some may hear (even if they don’t articulate) a richness that is reminiscent of fractal construction. Marin Alsop, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, describes Mozart’s popularity as the result of "the depth of the music and … the fact that Mozart makes contact with our inner selves. Maybe it’s because of his organic approach to composition - taking a small, cellular idea and developing it into something beautiful, he takes you by surprise but also comforts you."

The starting musical "cell ", feeding back on itself through multiple recursions/variations, grows into an exquisitely beautiful musical "structure", with layer-upon layer of filigreed nuance present in every measure.

If mathematics and music can’t be separated, what then of art, which despite all efforts of artists to break free of figurative representation, still must be beholden to the mathematics of the 2-D plane? The infinite richness of fractals can break this canvas constraint, impelling creativity. Digital artist Renata Spiazzi writes in Why Fractals of the power of fractals to inspire her work: it was not the mathematics of the science that was interesting, but the fascination of the shapes, the colors and the illusion of space that was achieved in the images.

Spiazzi proclaims a fascinating mission that seems eminently achievable: to continue working towards a fractal that because of its beauty will bring tears to your eyes.

And no one should be surprised that Spiazzi is aided in her work by listening to music - none other than the Mozart whose cellular ideas spring forth into artistic creation … in time, frequency, and the 2-D palette: When creating fractals I like to have the music playing. I think it puts me in a high feeling mood, and it allows me to see things in the fractals I would not see with different sounds surrounding me.

See Spiazzi’s website for some beautiful images. Her Listening to Mozart is included at the top of this post.