Kinetic Relationships in Visual Music Composition – Page 10

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Momentum / Temporal Energetic Contrast

Momentum is one of my favorite subjects. Consider for a moment, what is momentum? For this study, it could be described as the changes in the speed of object movement, which occur in an exponential manner. Perhaps the change occurs very slowly at first and then suddenly increases very quickly as the knee bend of the curve is reached in time. Look at the diagram below for an example of such an exponential function over time. Notice that the Y axis values increase very slowly from 0 to 2 seconds. The knee bend occurs at approximately 4 seconds at which time the increase in the Y values begin increasing at a very rapid pace. This exponential increase in speed of and object’s movement takes on the characteristic of momentum.

Reverse exponential motion is also a possibility. This would represent a shift in speed that is very fast at first and then, when the knee bend of the curve is reached, begins to rapidly slow.

When this effect is experienced in a composition, it takes on a very visceral quality… one can feel it physically. It is a very powerful effect and used as a compositional element it can be profoundly captivating. Whether, linked with objects in contrast with one another, in conjunction with other kinetic attributes, or implemented on an entire scene, shifts in energetic actions such as this are extremely desirable compositional and formal elements. See if you can notice the exponential shift in the following examples. It is unmistakable.

Example 9

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