Last Monday I listened to the first of 3 programmes on Radio 4 called Playing the Skyline  (thank-you Jo for pointing it out to me!).  In this episode two composers were challenged to compose a short piece of music that took inspiration from the outline of the London skyline as seen from the Millenium Bridge over the Thames. The original idea came from a view from an old mariner’s chart where the coastal profile is laid out horizontally as a navigation aid for sailors. The contours of the shoreline between sea and sky rise and fall much like the melody of a piece of music. The chart could almost be ‘read’ as a musical score.


Views and coastal profiles of the Isle of Sable (

I love the idea of creating music from the contours of the landscape and was struck by how similar it is to my Soundmark Drawings which are a reversal of this concept – sound into landscape  as opposed to landscape into sound.

book 2

Neither the music composed from the London skyline nor my drawings aim to fully represent what is seen or heard – as artists we take in as much information as we can only to filter out what is unnecessary. In my case the rhythms and textures of what I hear are the most important. Sporadic vertical lines are strung out or clustered together along the horizon line giving an interpretation of what I hear and see.

Listening and thinking about this programme has prompted me to draw the skyline here on the coast – these drawings are from my sketchbook.

Looking straight out the sea and sky merge.


As you turn small spits of sand jut out and the profile of the horizon changes – it’s hard to differentiate between land and sea.



Turning further still to left or right the contours of the land rise and fall as it becomes more prominent.





I wonder how these contours would sound if played?


2 thoughts on “Skylines

  1. mcooter3

    I came across these programmes yesterday – what a fascinating concept, and interesting realisation. It moves you out of the visual-viewing realm and into sound-induced visualisation. And an insight into how artists in a very different medium think and work…

    1. debbielyddon Post author

      Hi there, sound and music are very different media to paint and cloth. However, the more I think about and work with the two the more I believe that the creative process of manipulating and putting together materials, both aural or visual, are the same thing. What is the difference between an aural composition and a visual one ….?


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