In the last article, the creation of a theme, its development, and the use of a libretto were discussed. As one may recall, the theme is the kernel of a production, which dictates the nature of the piece. And in relation to the theme, is the thematic structure that serves as a guide as to how the production will manifest. Ultimately this information is transferred to a libretto. In contrast to the previous article, the strengths and weaknesses of the arts will be addressed. Before one can choose the various media for their multi-artistic production, one must understand the arts in part and as a whole. There are three general categories that the arts can be classified, which include the auditory, visual, and linguistic. Although some art forms can be placed in two or more categories, such as poetry, fundamentally it is made of words, but can be executed vocally.
The labels applied to the categories are general. But each category consists of several genres. The auditory arts consists of music, vocals, speech for the sake of speech, samples, loops, and all other similar art forms. Just as diverse as the auditory arts, the visual arts consists of videos, paintings, movies, movement, dance, the commercial arts, and all similar art forms. Not as diverse as the auditory and visual arts, the linguistic arts consists of poetry, prose, and literature. From these descriptions, the question of how do these arts connects remains. And the answer is simple. If one were to arrange the arts into a linear spectrum, one will see that the arts go from the abstract to the tangible. Or the linear connection between the arts can be seen as going from the general to the specific. On the two extremes of this linear spectrum are the auditory and linguistic arts. Between them are the visual arts.
The auditory arts are by their very nature abstract. For example, music can only express emotion. Music is not capable of producing a tangible object. A composer can only express an abstract idea through music. Because of the abstract qualities of music, a listener can only feel music. To prove this notion that music is abstract one would only need to ask listeners what the music was expressing. As a result one will get varied answers. In addition to music only expressing emotion, it is the only current media that can impact the body as a whole. Moreover, a listener can turn their backs, close their eyes, and, in some rare cases, cover their ears towards the musical source, and still experience music. Due to these aspects of the auditory arts, they stand on the one extreme of the art spectrum.
Contrary to the auditory arts are the linguistic arts. Unlike the auditory and visual arts, the linguistic arts are capable of expressing a very specific and tangible ideas. For example, if one were to see an image of a man standing atop a hill, many would interpret this in a literal sense. Contrary to this example, if one were to hear or read the following: "Atop a hill an Afghanistan man stands looking over a valley," many would have a more definitive idea than the previous example. As one can see from the previous examples, the latter most likely invokes a definitive feeling as compared to the visual description. This is the beauty of the linguistic arts. They can invoke specific ideas that reflect the current times. And quite possibly, linguistic arts can invoke a deeper emotional response than the other arts.
In between the auditory and linguistic arts are the visual arts. Philosophically, the visual arts can express abstract and tangible ideas. Hence, because of this notion, the visual arts stand between the auditory and linguistic arts. Ultimately, visual arts balance the auditory and linguistic arts. As a demonstration of the visual arts capability of producing tangible ideas, one could look at many paintings from the 19th century and earlier. The subject material in these paintings could be touched and experienced by many. For one to see the abstract nature of the visual arts one does not need to look too far. The 20th century has produced many paintings and other visual medium that express abstract ideas. For one to experience a Jackson Pollack painting, one would have to of been in the process of creating the painting or one would have to physically touch the painting. As one can see from these two descriptions, the visual arts can express tangible and abstract ideas.
In the end, the multi-artistic theory that has been discussed represents the underpinnings to the various arts. With this artistic concept and the understanding of a theme and its development, as discussed in the previous article, one can produce a multi-artistic piece without failure. Creating such a piece is simple. It is a matter of choosing a theme, developing the theme, and finally choosing the art forms to express the production. So what are you waiting for? Start creating your production now. Grab a pen. Get a piece paper. And begin. That is where it all begins.
Andrew Hanna is the CEO & Production Manager of At Hand Productions, Inc. At Hand Productions (http://www.AtHandProductions.com) is a leading Philadelphia concert and theatrical production company. Andrew Hanna has 20 years of composition experience and 16 years of saxophone performance experience. His compositions range from duets to large theatrical productions such as My Journal, Requiem for the Now, and Prophecies of War.