Norman McLaren

‘Norman McLaren’
Photograph copyright the National Film Board of Canada


‘Synchromy’ (1971)
Norman McLaren

“I like to think of synthetic sound as a new medium with a new set of inherent qualities and limitations. As a rhythmic instrument it is definitely superior to most of the traditional instruments in the subtly, the speed, and the complexity of the rhythms which it can make, for each of these rhythms can be carefully plotted in advance. […]

 I draw a lot of little lines on the sound track area of the 35mm film. Maybe 50 or 60 lines for every musical note. The number of strokes to the inch controls the pitch of the note: the more, the higher the pitch; the fewer, the lower the pitch, the size of the stroke controls the loudness…the tone quality is the most difficult element to control, it is made by the shape of the strokes. Well rounded forms gives smooth sounds; sharper or angular forms give harder and harsher sounds. By drawing or exposing two or more patterns on the same bit of film I can create harmony and textual effects.”

From a radio interview with  Forsythe Hardy in 1951

‘Lignes Verticales’ (1960)
Norman McLaren

Further resources
‘Pas De Deux’ by Khalda Logan – here
Profile of Norman McLaren – here
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