Speed and sound

Giacomo Balla was a futurist. Futurists lived in an exciting new era: the car had just been invented and you could record a rapid movement in one image with photographs. Giacomo Balla loved fast-moving vehicles with popping and roaring engines. He tried to ‘capture’ this in his works of art. Take a look at this painting. What sound do you see? Balla painted ‘motorcycle noise’. He had a ride on a motorcycle in Italy. He was so impressed by the speed and noise of the motorcycle that he made a painting of his inspiring ride. You can see the gears and the chain, the white stars represent the popping of the exhaust pipe. Capturing sounds in a drawing; you can do that too!

You will need:

  • someone you live with
  • materials to make noises
  • paper
  • coloured pencils

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Sit back to back. Person 1 makes noises and person 2 draws.
  2. Begin by making a soft sound. Use your voice, a musical instrument or something else for this. Person 2 listens closely and tries to draw the sound. Which colour fits the sound? And what movement do you make with the pencil? Lines or maybe circles?
  3. Now try the same thing with loud noises! Person 1 makes a loud noise. Person 2 tries to capture the sound. Which colour do you choose now? Do you press hard with your pencil or softly? Do you draw quickly or slowly?
  4. Look at the drawings together. Can person 1 guess which drawing represents which sound? 
  5. Time for a breath of fresh air! Bring your paper, pencil and the other person with you. Choose a place where there is a lot of noise, for example a square, a playground or near a construction site.
  6. Keep your pencils ready! Listen very carefully to all the sounds around you for 1 minute. Try to capture the sounds on paper. Draw quickly and use lines, scratches, shapes and colours to represent the sound. Your drawing doesn’t have to be pretty, it’s about capturing sound so just enjoy!
  7. Compare the drawings. Do they look similar?


Send a photo to educatie@krollermuller.nl or share a photo on Instagram and tag us @krollermullermuseum. We’d love to see what you’ve made!