Oct. 8-14, 1999
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Music videos are not just for MTV

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Alicyn Warren
Alicyn Warren

Music videos are not just for MTV

By Jane Ford

Family photographs and documents, live action footage, sounds and voices are some of the materials Alicyn Warren, assistant professor in the McIntire Department of Music, used to create her award-winning music video, "Molly."

The autobiographical, 13-minute work is about aging, death, loss, long-term family history and the attempt to hold onto what is important to us. She uses the approaching death of her long-time best friend and dog, Molly, and the death of her mother when Warren was 11 to amplify the events that can silence families.

Alicyn Warren, assistant professor of music, produced an award-winning music video, called "Molly," that will be screened Oct. 24 at the Virginia Film Festival. Images in the video include: (top) the Warren barn, which still bears the family name though the farm was sold about 10 years ago; (bottom) Warren showing affection for her beloved dog, Molly

Awarded first place by an international jury in the category of electronic music for multimedia at the 26th International Electroacoustic Music Competition in Bourges, France, this summer, "Molly" will also be featured at the Virginia Film Festival's "AudioVisions: Computer Music Videos" screening on Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre. A joint presentation by the film festival and the Virginia Center for Computer Music (VCCM), based at U.Va., the screening will showcase videos by composers from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, Spain and Britain.

Associate director of the VCCM, Warren has taught courses in film sound, but this was the first time she worked in film. Composers often collaborate with visual artists, dancers and choreographers, but "the idea of having creative control over the entire project appealed to me," she said.

"I find computer music to be very satisfying," she said. "The composer works with the sounds themselves, almost like you are the performer as well as the composer."

Warren uses the technology of the computer and digital manipulation to link spoken words and visual images. Working in this medium allowed her to take her speaking voice and treat it musically and to render the photos with a painterly quality.

An old photo that juxtaposes a draft horse owned by the Warrens with early automobiles.

"With the aid of the computer I can take a tiny slice of pitch of a word and draw it out like a note played on a musical instrument or sung by a singer," she said. "The interaction of sound and moving visual images especially interested me, and it was important to me to work on both aspects of the piece at once."

Warren began her college education at Columbia University playing the French horn and wanting to be an orchestral performer, but was exposed to one of the first electronic music studios there, and it sparked her interest. She went to graduate school at Princeton where the use of computers in music was burgeoning.

"Molly" was created using Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe Premiere in U.Va.'s New Media Center, now part of the Robertson Media Center. The sound work was completed at the VCCM and in Warren's home studio.


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