Grandma’s song

I finally have the time to write a blog post about a visualization that I made so long ago it seems like years. I’m not a long-form viz fan, and I’ll return to my good old comfy style – I just didn’t know where to cut this one, so I didn’t. Even if it doesn’t seem like one, this visualization is very personal to me, but not because I like classical music that much. This chart depicts the life of the most famous composers of the 20th century according to liveabout dotcom. Seems like choosing a career in classical music is the elixir of (almost) eternal life, and if you’re Hungarian, there’s +20% free.

Have a look at the final version on Behance or Tableau Public.

Classical music and I? Seems like a far cry.

And it is. I never had a taste for classical music, but my grandma learned how to play the piano and had a Bösendorfer since she was a child. This meant that someone from the grandchildren had to play the piano, and I won the family lottery. I had no talents, hated going to music school, but I loved hanging with her and practicing her favorite pieces. I pretended to like playing, and she pretended not to hear how bad I was. If I turn out half as cool she was, I’ll be a happy kid.

Our favorite game was called one-time hide & seek. We all hid somewhere, and granny could only look at one place, and if we were not there, she lost. We couldn’t make up our mind how she can’t find us. We tried everything! There was a time when all four of us just sat on the sofa, and we even turned up all the lights so that she could see us.

She died 12 years ago, but I still think about her every day. I guess I loved her so much because she never got old. The portrait of her grandma that hung over the Bösendorfer hangs on my wall now. Honestly, look how freaking cool my grandparents were:

How did I come across this idea?

I saw a Chopin poster on Pinterest, where the columns seemed like a piano, and the idea clicked instantly. In case you wonder if there’s an easy way to transform your bar charts into a piano, I have to disappoint. There isn’t. I formatted all 53 manually, and my brain was about to explode after 10, but I wanted to see the end result so bad that I needed to carry on. I won’t consider this visualization my favorite because it doesn’t scream “me” – but I’m happy I made it.

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