HomeInterpreting the Materials of a Transmedia Storyworld: Word-Music-Image in Steven Wilson’s Hand. Cannot. Erase. (2015)Musical timeline

Musical timeline

The Musical Timeline focuses on the musical content of the album. Each song, presented in the order of the original album, is treated to analytic commentary about formal and timbral attributes, and each song is represented by an annotated image of its spectrographic data. The map includes the data for all tracks of the album so that we can see the album in a single glance. The Sonic Visualiser data is presented in three layers from top to bottom: peak frequency spectrogram (channels mixed); melodic range spectrogram (channels mixed); and waveform (channels separate). The red number markers indicate the starting points for the individual tracks of the album, 1 through 11. These markers have been placed above the waveform data. The sonic map is annotated to provide a number of analytic markings: a formal analysis between the left and right channels of the waveform, a comment about the harmonic/tonal design in the bottom left corner, and specific markings to illustrate instrumental content and timbral effects that carry thematic significance across the album.

For the reader interested in the tonal connections over the course of the album, here is a summary of Wilson's harmonic design:

Album Timeline



First Regret


3 Years Older


Hand Cannot Erase


Perfect Life




Home Invasion


Regret #9






Happy Returns


Ascendant Here On…

Harmonic Scheme

Begins with emphasis on d, closes F – G as VII - I

Emphasis on C – A – f# - D, closes on D as I

In E, inflected by A (IV) and c# (vi)

In G,

Opens with C – e9; Directional harmony in CH, but closing on C (IV)

In D, closes e9 – A – D (ii – V – I)

Harmonic emphasis on E/e and G

In E, inflected by A (IV) and c# (vi)

Emphasis on a9

In g# minor, closing on V

In G, closes on e9

In G, reprising the harmonic materials of TR. 4, closing on V


Full screen version