Sight, Sound and Beyond


Spectrum V by Ellsworth Kelly

Since this is my very first blog post, I thought it would be best to begin with an introduction.  That’s usually a good place to start.  Anyway, this is not my first blog.  I actually started keeping a blog about 2 years ago when I was an active online member of a parrot forum.  Writing has always been a great outlet of expression for me, so here I am starting it up again.

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Jennifer and I love music and birds.  I am a music educator at a community music school and also incorporate music into my work in therapeutic recreation at a children’s home.  I have been playing piano for over 20 years and I have been writing my own music for almost 10 years.  I play the handbells in my church’s handbell choir and absolutely love it.  Some people would call me a professional musician, but I don’t consider myself one, just a great lover of this wonderful art form.

As  much as I love music, I also love birds.  I live with two very special, feathered companions: a sun conure, Sunny, and a quaker parrot, Nikki.  Both are girls and were born in 2004.  They are very dear to my heart and add much color to my life.  They are my girls and anyone who knows me, knows my girls.  They are my biggest musical inspirations.

That brings me to the title of this blog.  Spectrum is a very special title to me because it is the title of one of my favorite artworks that I saw at the Metropolitan Music of Art.  The work is specifically called Spectrum V (as opposed to Spectrum IV) and is by a contemporary artist named Ellsworth Kelly (b. 1923),  The work consists of thirteen large panels, each containing a different color or shade of color. The first panel is yellow and the last is yellow.  To me this work is a visual representation of a chromatic scale played one full octave up the piano keyboard.  Years after my first sighting of Spectrum at the Met, I decided that I wanted to make an audio representation of the seven colors of the rainbow, each represented by a different tonality or pitch center: A being red, B orange, C yellow, D green, E blue, F indigo, and G violet.”

I have played Spectrum many times.  To me it is my signature piece.  Anyone who hears it or for any pianist who plays it hopefully gets a glimpse of what’s going on in my head.

The word Spectrum conjures up both audio and visual memories for me.  I am a great lover of both color and sound and find the senses of both vision and hearing to be very fascinating.  Ironically, when I was born, these two senses were not the sharpest tools in the shed because I was born both hearing and visually impaired.  However since I have never had normal vision and hearing, all seems pretty normal to me.  I am very happy with my aural and visual perceptions.  I can see enough to appreciate all the beautiful colors, and I can hear enough appreciate all the beautiful sounds.

To me, my girls, are the the most beautiful creatures in my life with their beautiful colors and bright eyes, and their unique vocalizations are the most beautiful sounds to my ears (except when they nag for my attention).  There is nothing more beautiful than the sound of their happy chirps.  Of course, other people would disagree with me.  Many find the vocalizations of parrots, even small ones, to be quite annoying.  Oh well, when you love, you do not only become blind but deaf too!

My topics for discussion will range from anything that I feel relates to either sound and/or color as well as vision and/or hearing.  Feel free to leave comments and thank you for visiting!


Comments on: "Introduction" (2)

  1. Hi Jennifer!
    Your new blog looks absolutely fantastic!! It is so bright and has such a great upbeat feel! I always love reading about Sunny and Nikki and Spectrum, your signature piece which is a wonderful set of piano pieces which more people should know!!

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