Amal Shaju Joseph

Visual Gamaka

A real-time interactive art system based on Indian Classical Music


Amal Shaju Joseph

Kerala, India


Supervisor: Maura Mc Donnell



This project experimentally investigated the creative visualization of Gamaka, the distinctive fundamental dimension of musical expression in Indian Classical Music by developing an audio-visual instrument. 3 prototypes named 'Gamaka Shapes', 'Gamaka Plotter' & 'Gamaka Painting' were developed during the course of this project.The academic poster with project details is available in the gallery.


Gamaka Shapes

Gamaka Shapes prototype attempted gamaka visualization using 2-dimensional shapes. The continuous pitch movements(glides) in the music are visually communicated by a continuum of multiple transforming shapes interacting with each other.


Gamaka Plotter

Gamaka Plotter attempted to build on the previous gamaka visualization project ‘Music in Motion’ by NCPA in which unprocessed pitch contour with added metadata was displayed along with melodic music. The aim of Gamaka Plotter was to achieve a creative representation of the pitch contour. The pitch values are plotted like scribbling on a paper or pages of a book. The visual display takes the observer through a journey during the performance. Once a page is full, the display is saved, the canvas is refreshed with a new random colour and plotting resumes as a new page.


Gamaka Painting

This final prototype attempted visual translation of gamaka using abstract multicoloured paintings. Similar to how a photograph captures a moment, the gamaka paintings attempt to capture the gamaka paths and their expressions during a performance. Gamaka literally means to go from one place to another. Gamaka paintings start with an empty canvas and gradually transform into abstract paintings by creatively documenting and visualizing the continuous dynamics in the music.


Multiple drawing modes were created within each prototype which would allow the user to choose from the available presets.

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