Shared Principles

Yesterday was the kickoff for the 2018 Row by Row program.   I am especially excited for this year because the theme is Sew Musical.      There are so many things that music and quilting have in common.    Even though a classical guitar performance and making a quilt are very different,  they have several shared principles that are worth exploring a bit.     At the First Dutchess Quilt Guild meeting this past Wednesday the guest speaker also briefly mentioned that the Design Principles apply to many disciplines,  and since the subject keeps coming up I thought it would be worth expanding on a few of them over the next couple of posts.

small orchestra RXR2018So the one that I will start with is Harmony.      When multiple notes in music sound pleasing together it is called harmony.    Likewise when several colors look pleasing together it is called harmony.      Now there are all kinds of harmonies in both music and quilts,   some are smooth and gentle like a Vivaldi waltz or soft gentle florals in a traditional block,    some are bold and loud  like heavy rock and roll or orange double-knit in a crazy quilt.     Each kind of harmony  has a different emotional impact.     Think about how you reacted when I said Waltz,   versus how you reacted when I said Rock and Roll.       Some sets of harmonies are universal enough to have names,   so you will hear of analogous colors, ( ones that are closely related )  or  key signatures in music,  that dictate the usual ways that the notes or colors are combined.     If these harmonies are violated there is dissonance.    This is sometimes an honest mistake by hitting a wrong note or choosing a color that doesn’t go,  but it can also be applied on purpose to create discomfort or bring the audience’s attention to something particular.

Another principle that applies to music and quilting is Dynamics.   This refers to how loud or soft,  how clean and crisp or muted and muddy,  or light and airy or heavy and dense,  and how these things change throughout the piece.   Notice that without me saying whether I was taking about music or quilts you couldn’t tell.    In Principles, the line between art forms is very blurred,  in fact sometimes you hear terms like tone-color used in a form (music)  where there isn’t really any color,  only what the audience is lead to imagine.      A quilt for a baby to sleep on should have lullaby colors and quiet dynamics,   a marching band should have bold strong brassy sounds to keep everyone moving.   The dynamics of piece should be moderated to its intended effect.

Tomorrow is Graduation day for my daughter,  so the shoppe will be closed.     Have a wonderful weekend and I will see you all next week.   The second part of the printed affirmations workshop will happen on Wednesday.  See you then.


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