in Audio Software, MAX, Music, Podcast

MA thesis – An oil painting as a musical Composition

Gareth McCorry: “I Know it’s Over” oil on linen – unfinished (2021)



An oil painting as a musical composition: A collaboration between musician, artist, and programmed generative software algorithms using Max/MSP/Jitter.

This project explores artistic interpretation across disciplines, employing and unifying the techniques examined during the study of a postgraduate degree in Interactive Music and Advanced Studio Production at the University of Salford. A podcast interview was recorded with a professional artist (in this instance, the painter Gareth McCorry), in which methods of interpreting an oil painting as a musical composition were discussed. Based upon this conversation, various software algorithms were created, analysing the painting, a virtual viewing of the painting (video), and providing a generative harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic backing track. Improvised instrument parts were overdubbed before the song was mixed in a DAW (Logic Pro). A functioning Max patch, YouTube video of the process, and resultant audio (.wav) of the final interpretation have been created and are available for public listening/viewing.

The Project

A PDF copy of my MA thesis can be viewed below or downloaded here.

Martin McCorry_MA_Thesis


Supporting media files are listed below.

Podcast episode


Video of paintings by Gareth McCorry: to accompany Ouchmonkeys podcast episode# 5


Viewing video: used for creating motion detection Max patch.


Example Audio Files:

Audio Example 1: Image sonification version 1.

Audio Example 2: Image sonification version 2 with Jitter/pink noise.

Audio Example 3: Sound Generated by motiongram.


Screen Capture/recording of generative Max patch.


Final recorded audio:


Please contact me for Max/MSP patches. Artwork is copyright Gareth McCorry.