Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

What color is Middle “C”? Musical Pitch Related to Color

Posted by Anonymous on November 30, 2008

I purchased a program called Absolute Pitch which plays notes at random and assigns colors to help you learn to experience the unique “C”-ness of the “C” note in an atonal context. In the version I paid for Absolute Pitch 2.22 the test part isn’t working, but I’m hoping the programmer gets back to me soon with a fix. The Absolute Pitch does a great job in terms of choosing the most distinct 12 color pitches, but shouldn’t “Middle C” be yellow, sun colored?

absolutepitch

As far as colors go, I’ve seen others assigned to the notes.

circle of fifths

Is any one color “correct” for a particular note, or is this an individual choice? What I want to see is a translation of  audio frequencies to visual frequencies. If found this low resolution map which looks interesting, but I don’t want to use black and grey as colors. Middle C is 261.626 hertz and

light_and_sound_spectra

The wavelength of each band of color in the visible spectrum (measured in nanometers, nm) can be halved repeatedly until the rate of its vibration falls within the octaves of the audible spectrum (measured in Hertz, Hz), giving a table of musical notes that correspond to each color (see Figure 2).

Eric L. Wagner of wagneric.com has an interesting analysis with a chart:

Light is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, higher in frequency than radio waves, but below X-rays. Wavelengths we can see are between approximately 380nm and 780nm. Curiously, the spectrum of visible light, between ultraviolet and infrared, is almost exactly an octave, with the visible edge of ultraviolet having double the frequency (and half the wavelength) of the visible edge of infrared. … 

Corresponding light-spectrum harmonics were computed from equal temperament musical pitches, using a reference of A440 and a half-step frequency ratio of 21/12. Given the speed of light, C = 299792458 meters/second, and λ=C/F, wavelengths were computed for each frequency. The 780.75nm “F” falls outside of the 380-780nm range but I added it for interest. Note that exactly 12 pitches fit within the range. The light spectrum “C” is 41 octaves above middle-C

F — 349.228231 Hz ~ 383.980501 THz ~ 780.749171 nm
F# — 369.994423 Hz ~ 406.813170 THz ~ 736.929087 nm
G — 391.995436 Hz ~ 431.003540 THz ~ 695.568436 nm
G# — 415.304698 Hz ~ 456.632344 THz ~ 656.529179 nm
A — 440.000000 Hz ~ 483.785116 THz ~ 619.681028 nm
Bflat — 466.163762 Hz ~ 512.552476 THz ~ 584.901004 nm
B — 493.883301 Hz ~ 543.030432 THz ~ 552.073033 nm
C — 523.251131 Hz ~ 575.320702 THz ~ 521.087555 nm
C# — 554.365262 Hz ~ 609.531052 THz ~ 491.841158 nm
D — 587.329536 Hz ~ 645.775654 THz ~ 464.236235 nm
Eflat — 622.253967 Hz ~ 684.175473 THz ~ 438.180657 nm
E — 659.255114 Hz ~ 724.858663 THz ~ 413.587466 nm
F — 698.456463 Hz ~ 767.961002 THz ~ 390.374586 nm

My eye has trouble telling the difference between the different reds, greens and purples in this chart above. Anyway, when I take the visible spectrum and use a ruler in a graphics program and put Middle C exactly in the middle, I get this color, a mix of sun and green grass.

The Real Middle “C”

(html: #7bb81c)

realmiddlec

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29 Responses to “What color is Middle “C”? Musical Pitch Related to Color”

  1. Liam said

    I just started thinking about this last week when I listened to a podcast on the equation E=mc2. I was thinking about the fact that if all matter has an equivalence in energy, then different forms of energy must have equivalents too. I deduced that if A = 440 hrz, then you should be able to double it over and over until the frequency was in the visible light spectrum. As an note of interest, I’ve recently stumbled across the conspiracy theory about absolute pitch being historically rooted in A-432 instead of A-440. Apparently, A-432 allows the other notes of the scale to fall on whole numbers, instead of partials that run on into infinity. I’m a musician, not a physicist, so I’m a bit out of my league with the number crunching. Anyhow, my question is this: Where will the notes fall on the spectrum if derived from a scale system tuned to A-432? Also, not to drill you too much but do you know anything about this tuning system and if so, does it indeed allow for the notes of the equal tempered system to sit on whole numbers?

    I would really love a response to some of this. Loved you in Harry Potter!

    Thanks,
    Liam.

    • Xeno said

      About the A 440 (check out onlinetuningfork.com):

      It was usual to employ the 435 pitch before the 440 pitch was accepted as the standard pitch. In 1917, the American Federation of Musicians accepted the A440 as standard pitch, and in 1920, the US Government then accepted it. It was not until 1939 that this pitch was accepted internationally.

      I was not able to find an example of a piece played by a piano tuned to A 432.

      From A 440 to the next half step down G# 415.30 there is a difference of 24.7 vibrations per second.

      In between any two adjacent notes there are 100 cents and humans can detect differences of about 7 cents. Stated another way, 1 cent between these two notes is a difference of 0.247 Hz. We could hear a difference of about 1.729 Hz. A 432 is 8 Hz lower than than A 440, so it would be noticeable, but not a half step down as some mistakenly think.

      ( related post).

    • simon said

      Hello

      I think all of this is very interesting stuff too. I am a musician and architect, for long time i try to find the best way to visualize the music andd connect sound and color. I found the interesting site connected with these topics. It can show you where will the notes fall on the spectrum if derived from a scale system tuned to A-432, this will near Pithagorean scale (A 430.54). I am sceptic man and i am interesting only in a science level of this site.

      http://www.lunarplanner.com/Harmonics/planetary-harmonics.html

  2. thegnu said

    the math that person did for the pitch color is accurate. you take, for example, A440, multiply it by 2^40 (i think it’s 40) and you get a frequency in the visible spectrum. you have to just go with doublings of the frequency, if you’re using equal temperment. it would be interesting to follow the natural harmonic series up mathematically, and see how the results differed, but it would take a better man than i.

    • If you could get any instrument to produce such a high vibrating “noise”, you would see the string vibrating becoming hot enough to emit light. Each element has a specific spectrum (light key combination identifier per element). This light emitted changes with higher vibrations (EM spectrum) or lower vibrating states (0 degrees Kelvin). All matter at Absolute zero emits no light, except hydrogen.

  3. Mirlen101 said

    I’ve been looking into this from an artist perspective. I’m no mathematician . I find all this helpful because I was trying to match the color wheel ( color spectrum )to the sound spectrum . I’m going to be creating a set of music videos that have colored notes . Each note will have a corresponding color association . One thing I’ve been looking at is the relationship between wave lengths and force . An example is electricity . Higher volts produce higher penetration like an arc or static >>>>>>> Higher amps produce higher pushing force ))))))))) It’s like comparing a bowling ball O ( amps ) to a spear > ( volts ) So I was going to shape each note to the color and shape of the corresponding wave . High frequency being a thin line or small spot . Low frequency being a large spot or wide line/area , mids in between . These associations become much more apparent at the atomic level . Matter is condensed light . Light is a form of electromagnetic wave .Light , color , sound waves , magnetism ,they are all totally connected . It’s all about particles and waves and what happens when they contact one another . Ultimately my project is to show a direct relationship between light and sound so everyone understands it without trying to ;-)

  4. bomtailey said

    This is very interesting stuff
    I’m looking at ways of visually representing different types data in outdoor art installations at scale and came across this by chance.
    I’m imagining a choir performance with live colour wash on the building behind responding in real-time to the pitch of the music.

  5. Mirlen101 said

    You might want to check out my work on youtube . I have a few early attempts at combining music with color and shapes . It’s not anywhere near a sync between the two yet though . Like I said very early attempt . My later work will be way more synchronized and tuned to the notes/color frequencies. I’m developing a system for doing these in analog . This is using what’s called “a video feedback loop system “

  6. Ryan Hirst said

    Hello,

    I thought I’d drop a line, since this has been on my mind a lot. I am a musician without perfect pitch, and I am in the process of attempting to develop it. I choose a perfectly rational approach because thats how I think. Several things strike me. First, for a language with only 12 words, it is remarkable that the vast majority of even lifetime musicians cannot distinguish the “colors” if, indeed, such an analogy holds (it does not, which I am happy to discuss if you want).
    There is a new-age audio program called the Perfect Pitch Course by David Lucas Burge, which, if you can stand to listen to his self-congratulation for 90% of each lesson, is quite interesting. One of the early exercises is to associate pitches with a color, but no particular color goes with any particular pitch.

    The crux is simple. We are seeking a mnemonic device. We need a “bin” in which to begin storing all of the audio references we can find for each pitch. We make an explicit exercise of it, because in the past we have failed. Let’s be clear: any reasonably trained musician can read notes with perfect recognition of pitch name and location on his/her instrument. As a pianist, one should be able to transpose on the fly. Most people do this without ever developing perfect pitch.

    Perfect pitch is nothing more than this fact: the brain is capable of retaining an absolute pitch reference in memory. That’s it. For 99% of us, the brain does not do this, and only with excrutiating attention to this exact detail can we generate a reasonable facsimile. To answer the question of “is there a correct color for each pitch?” the answer is no. If there were, why would you have to hunt for it?

    The difficulty with these references (color charts, assigning qualities to each note) is that these distinctions do not exist. There is no metaphysical “F#-iness” to F#. If your brain, for whatever reason, pegs frequencies absolutely in memory, you remember it’s F#. If not, you learn to associate any F# with the structure of the musical piece being played. If you’re in the key of G, the F# is a leading tone and therefore edgy. If you’re in the key of Gb, we might have a homey, round, fat, feeling about F#. Context.
    The fear of making a mistake in selecting colors and descriptors is an expression of the fact that there is no answer. We hunt for something to hold on to, because, by definition, we lack the ability to remember the only absolute quality being expressed: pitch.

    So, choose whatever colors you like. For example, I have chosen gold for Bb because the brass tune to it, and the highly expressive timbres of brass instruments in different registers are much easier for me to keep in memory as absolute pitches (for a period of time) than, say, the nearly identical timbres of piano keys. Bb is also the closest note to electric hum, which you should spend some time listening to and teasing the overtone series out of with an EQ. If you can find the 60Hz hum, and some of its overtones, on a regular basis, you have a tuning fork that follows you around everywhere you go. Every electric buzz is overtones above 60Hz. WAY above, but if you know what you’re listening for, you can usually find it (well, I usually find 120Hz).

    In the Burge course, he mentions red for F# in passing, because it’s bright and edgy, with a kind of buzz to it. Note that this isn’t true. But if you DECIDE that it’s true, and start assigning this quality over and over again to every F# you hear, you will make it true.

    What I’m getting at is that precisely because there are NOT absolute answers (other than pitch, but all of this would be trivial if you could remember that), you must decide that there ARE. You go about this business as if at a certain point the colors of the notes will appear, and that means that you have to assign everything consistently. You pick a color for F# and you stick with it. Every time you hear an F# and quibble with yourself about what color it might be, is an F# lost. You’re not hunting for anything that can be found, you’re building a database from scratch, and all that matters for retrieval is that the rules be 100% consistent, because you cannot count on biology to help you. This is pure human endeavor and it can be done.

    If you think about it, the steps are obcvious and overwhelming. Every instrument sounds sligthly different in different registers. Some instruments are more or less in and out of tune in different registers. Brass instruments change timbre when the sounding note is higher and lower in the overtone series. Open srings sound different from fingered notes, the chords of the guitar betray a complex net of fingerings and open strings. With extensive knowledge of the guitar, and with a tin ear, a VERY CLEVER person could transcribe a guitar part based purely on the timbral cues from the guitar itself.

    Now, nobody wants to do this. And we need concrete places to put these memories. We need a way to tie all of these diverse memories together so that at some point we have enough. At some point in time, each note can remind us of some timbre, some string vibrating, some song, SOMETHING, and we know the name of the note. Visual assignment of color aids in all kinds of ways. For example, I have Cubase set up to color MIDI notes by pitch. I work all day arranging a MIDI score, and even while I register the notes as key-specific solfege (do re me for D E F, in d minor for example), I have the colors in front of me. Every time I hear a memorable sound, I have a color in front of me.

    Assigning timbral characteristics (edgy, warm, cool, whatever) and sonic onomatopaeia (Burge, for example, suggests in the first lesson that F# goes “where-where-where-where” (with a nasal cast) and that Eb below it goes “wa-wa-wa-wa-wa”. Sure. Start with any higher note, and play a lower one, the lower one will seem to “beat” slower. The point is, you must decide, and this is as good a place as any.

    Anyway, just a few ideas, thrown out. I’m amenable to replies. rkhirst@gmail.com

    • george spackman said

      Im synesthetic and have always seen f# as red and c as light green, both of which were right on with the charts. All other people i have met who are synesthetic see f# as red as well. Doesn’t it seem as if you CAN actually relate color to pitch accurately seeing as many, many people see things as they have been mathematically proven?

      • sg12909 said

        I too can “visualize”, or rather, associate colours with pitches. C is yellow, D is blue, E is a bolder yellow, F is red-orange, G is light green, A is brown-orange and B is a dull brown for me. The sharps and flats are different mixes of colors. And F sharp is a dull or “sour” red-orange- pretty close to red. I’m not sure whether this association came from seeing a coloured piano keyboard when I was young, or if it is natural. I also associate vague feelings like warmth, as was previously mentioned in another post.

        Just one note: reportedly, Mozart copied an opera down on paper after just hearing it once. Now, most if us with perfect pitch can only copy simple melodies and especially annoying pop songs, but I’m not sure whether perfect pitch is possible by association with colours and feelings solely, as operas are very complex. Possibly you distinguish pitches in the same way you distinguish colours. How do you know “red” is red, and not yellow? You can simply see the difference. For me, hearing pitches is similar.

  7. Mirlen101 said

    I agree.Most make the mistake of trying to do this in exact terms . It can’t be done . It can only be done in a general way as a tool . Like for teaching perfect pitch . Or artistic representation of color as sound . Giving “C” or any other note a particular color that is correct is not possible because the frequencies do not translate in an exact manner. There are several researchers who have attributed various colors to the notes but none totally agree . But they do generally follow a basic plan . That the frequencies match somewhat in spectrum or scale . That is pretty clear . So most start with “C” being orange ,yellow or green . Then going up the scale of color ( light spectrum ) and sound frequency ( both are waves ) . On my diagram I chose yellow for ” C ” and followed up the scale yellow “C” , Green ” D” , ” E ” blue and so on , http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/2161405920044363884ObpyIV But this is just my opinion of where I THOUGHT they should go . You can shift it left or right based on what you FEEL . It is more about your own FEELINGS rather than an exact science . But in my opinion they should follow the logical progression of scale . Also there are obvious psychological links between sounds that can confuse the issue or help it depending how you think about it . People tend to perceive red as high frequency ( warning ! , sirens , blood etc )brown usually associated with bass low frequency . Low to mid frequencies are also associated with deep colors like blue or purple .Shapes play an important role also . Sharp shapes associated with sharp sounds ( high frequencies ) round with lower frequencies .
    An important note is that some genius minds have been found to have color-graphemic synesthesia, ( letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored ). It has been proven repeatedly that people learn more by visual means . Like facial and threat recognition( There’s a tiger ! and it is going to eat you RUN ! ;-O So shapes and colors are processed faster and more permanently than other inputs . Sound is pretty direct also . Victims often hear their predator before seeing them . This is the primal brain at work .
    I read an article here that you posted that said there had been no one found to have gained perfect pitch after age 7 . Pitch recognition seems to be processed similar to language . It’s very difficult to learn a new language in later years . And perfect pitch is even harder . So who ever learns perfect pitch in adulthood will supposedly be a first . And they will need to come up with some very clever way of going about it . I figure that is by using all senses , Color , sound and shape . To use as many senses as possible to make as many redundant pathways in the brain . And the visual cortex is the best path of all .

    • Xeno said

      Right, I’m working on it every day but still can’t “unlock it” as Jason Mraz says. For him, someone with absolute pitch, “it’s just filling in the blanks like madlibs.”

      That makes sense, it should be easy. We hear examples of the 13 tones every day… We just don’t recognize them for what they are because we learned to hear them in the context of the surrounding notes. And I also think many of us grew up around out of tune instruments. My guitar was tuned to itself, not to a correct E A D G B E most of the time I was learning. There is no chance to learn the notes that way.

      Sent from my iPhone

  8. Mirlen101 said

    That hearing the note in context is a good point .
    One thing most people don’t realise is the brain doesn’t always work in a predictable or what we would consider a logical manner . If you look at people who have super human memory they often have had some sort of brain damage ;-/ Often people like the ” Brain Man ” Daniel Tammet or Laurence Kim Peek ” Rainman ” have had brain damage or were born with brain abnormalities . Some have color-graphemic synesthesia . These abnormalities in the brain allowed some to bypass parts of the brain that prevent most of us from having photographic memories . Essentially your brain regulates what you can remember or use . The memories are usually stored but not easily accessible . Some people who have super memory do not have to try. It just pops in and out of memory effortlessly . It’s no wonder genius and artistic ability are often associated with mental disorder . That is because it is statistically prevalent . And it has been physically pinpointed to certain brain functions . Here’s 3 articles you might find interesting that are related to perfect pitch etc. , mental disorder and their connection http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/44/11/17.1.full

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eidetic_memory

    http://www.aip.org/dbis/stories/2004/14291.html

  9. bb said

    it does not matter if A is set to 440 or 435 or anything else for that matter. this is arbitrary. to assigne colours to musical notes is as simple as dividing the visable spectrum into 12 equal parts. the first division coresponds to the root, the 2nd division is the minor 2nd, and so on. the only reason for 12 parts is that this is the western scale. other cultures have more or less notes making up they’re octave(the octave is the same for all scale systems as it is doubleing the frequency by definition). the notion of frequency is redundant altogether in my opinion as it is based on the defination of the second, which was defined by humans to make life easyer, not defined by nature, i mean to say that light, and music (as mathematical ratios) would exist if humans never evolved, the second would not. anyway, it may in fact make more sense to divide the colour spectrum up into 7 parts, one for each note in the major scale. when doing this it is clear that the 1st 3rd and 5th(major chord) form an equlateral triangle on the coulor wheel! what would you get if you mixed three colours separated like this on the colour wheel, purple cyan and orange for example? white maybe?

  10. Mirlen101 said

    The color wheel is logically separated into 12 parts . It can be reduced to 6 or 3 . 3 being the primary colors . Comparing the two ( color spectrum and audio spectrum )is not an exact science . But it seems to me that comparing twelve to twelve is a good fit ;-)Not perfect though , like I said not an exact science ;-) But if you would have followed my link to my Color Research diagrams you would have seen that I had split the color spectrum into 7 major and 7 minor .

  11. Goddy Oku said

    Colors are vibrational, same as sounds; and different colors have different rates of vibration. It follows that different notes have different colors. The intriguing part is why octaves of the same note have the same color?

  12. Goddy Oku said

    Colors are vibrational, same as sounds; and different colors have different rates of vibration. It follows that different notes have different colors. The intriguing part is why octaves of the same note have the same color? The Color of C in a mystic journal I own is yello-green.

  13. Maloje said

    Maybe this will help you all.

    The key thing to remember is that when we listen to music we do not see the light; we feel it. Einstein’s equation does not work for the relationship between pitch and visible colour frequencies, it is Planck. As our eyes are only able to process one octave of light frequencies at A44 to G#45 they are not designed to detect any colour within the audible range (approx) between A0 and A9. However, the body/mind/spirit is able to process the music as emotional energy where the spectrum is much higher and the speed of light (c) in Planck’s equation should be replaced by the speed of emotional light at around 3 x 10 to the power 26 or C x 10 to the power 18.(This is from the writings of Tom Campbell and my own research). I agree with article 9 by Bb; the exact tuning is irrelevant as the colour felt by any frequency tends to match with the emotional part of us. The metaphysical and spiritual documents that state that middle C is yellow are using the emotional spectrum to feel it and many people agree with the fact that A is red through to G# at violet. However, synesthaesics tend to use their own physical brain patterns to associate audible and visual frequencies.

    There is a definite pattern between anything that relates to colour on a spiritual level if that is the way you choose to research it; check out the “12 Rays of Light” the “12 chakra system” and the “12 colours of the zodiac”; they are all the same and relate to the same emotional connection. For the mathematicians among you, you will not find the results in any journal as science is based on physical calculations only; determined by the speed of light as a maximum quanta. The proof of the emotional energy only lies within yourself. Just ask yourself one question: When I have deja-vous, am I experiencing the same event on two levels; where I feel it first and then encounter it consciously second?

    Emotional light is accountable (sorry Mirlen101 from article 7) and there is evidence out there that has been kept from society for thousands of years. Unfortunately, if society was to release this material we would all find out the truth of our own origin and the way in which creation actually works. All of you are beginning to tap into these answers as they are right in front of your noses. Harmonics. If the truth of science, religion and history can all be determined by harmonics, basic cell division on physical, non-physical and primary energy levels becomes a little easier to understand. It is a vey long journey; good luck to you all.

    For a mine of information please visit http://www.the-universal-frequencies.webs.com – all access to my research documentation is free of charge. I do it for the love of knowledge.

    Maloje

  14. Bracha said

    I’ve got what I think is perfect pitch as it relates to colors. I can see any color spectrum and be able to put them from lightest to darkest; etc. I took a test to be able to put color blocks from greens to blues to reds; etc. When I finished, the person asked if I had a question. I said I was done. They couldn’t believe I had done it so fast. They checked and double checked my work and couldn’t believe I was 100% accurate. It’s been this was as long as I can remember. I’m trying to find out if there is a name for this.

    • Xeno said

      As in “White, Beige, Grey, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Red, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Brown, Black” ? The one’s that fit the acronym: Roy G. Biv. ? Or something else?

  15. Russ said

    Middle C is 261.63 Hz…. It used to be 256, but it makes little difference. If you raise this frequency 41 octaves i.e 261.63 x 2 (to the power of ) 41, you get a frequency of ~575 Terrahertz or a wavelength of 521 nanometres. THIS IS GREEN!!! This is simple mathematics anyone can do with a scientific calculator. There’s no need to resort to mysticism, or colour wheels; a C remains a C no matter how high you go. Anyway the issue of colour becomes problematic for F, F# & G , as they are off the visible scale. You could assign infrared & ultraviolet, but what would be the point?

    • rook said

      Russ,

      Your calculations are valid in terms of the numerator, but unfortunately this widely parroted derivation is incomplete and therefore incorrect. The problem is the assumption of equivalency between the frequency of a sound wave and the velocity of a light wave. A common misconception is that frequency is a function of velocity. It isn’t. This is immediately proven by the fact that light waves do not change speed at all, period. Which of course means that it cannot in any way be a function of anything that changes, and in both light and sound events, frequencies modulate. Granted, they modulate in accordance with an apparent shift in color (slightly inaccurate but good enough for now). Even ignoring certain minor errors and assuming that their modulation occurs to an extent that’s directly correlated with color, there’s still the problem of equivalency between color of pigment and color of light. Here again, a common incorrect assumption. The fact is that the electromagnetic spectrum is not governed by the same principles as the spectrum of sound. The reason is because in reality, the waves are of entirely different nature. Specifically, sound waves are linear whereas light waves are transverse. Meaning what? The short answer is that the properties of propagation are different for a wave that vibrates at right angles to its direction of propagation than they are for waves traveling specifically in accord with the direction of propagation. By now it should be evident that while seemingly elegant and scientifically justified, the alignment derivation method you propose is just the opposite. And trust me, this only scratches the surface. I still have yet to address the very relevant issue of medium – light waves travel through the vacuum of space, and therefore are in no way a function of their medium, whereas sound waves specifically require a material medium in order to manifest and propagate, and the velocity of sound is directly related to this medium. That’s why sound travels at different speeds varying in accordance with altitude, or may change geometry in accordance with density depending on this or that or whether or not you’re reading this response on a Tuesday evening, ignoring your beer as you grow increasingly irritated at my seemingly endless pedantry and condescending tone, which is simply a continuation of the tone you established. I could elucidate this aspect further and in fact in mathematical terms, but what would be the point?

  16. I have perfect pitch. I have had it since I was a young boy. I t was discovered when tiI was around 10, but probably had it before that. The only comparison between colors and musical notes that I can find is that I see recognizing notes as similar to recognizing a color. I hear a “C”, it is “C”; I see blue, it is blue. Other than that, I see no connection between notes and color. Besides, these notes are merely assigned half steps. There are infinite steps between a half step….I cannot see how a color has anything to do with a pitch.

  17. t said

    i’m supprised no one seems to take into condieration…

    an octave of light goes off the visible spectrum both ways – people are mapping just the visible colors to the scale, which means they are mapping less than an octave of light onto an octave of notes… that doesn’t make sense to me

    i also have to disagree with the person that said that a note (like F sharp for example) has none of its own characteristics. does green not have any characteristics? its just a waveform to you??? that’s crazy.

  18. isabel said

    hello my name is Isabel and i am trying to create a science project to see wether musical notes represent specific colors and if so, if it can be compared to a musical piece that reflects on a painting or artwork. I am a little bit confused though and because I’m relatively young i don’t know wether this is possible or not. do music notes have like colors? and if so, how can you find that color or how can you prove that

    • Maloje said

      I suggest that you assume that the connection between sound and light is the shape of the energy. Try researching cymatics of both and note the similarities of particular pitches and colours.

  19. My name is Mark Sandborn and I am a researcher, educator, music theorist and technology developer regarding color, sound, and language. For the past 18 years I have worked professionally in this domain. I have specifically been focused on the harmonic science of sound (which involves both the study of music structure and linguistic structure) and the harmonic structure of the photon, the harmonic symmetry of the electromagnetic wave, and the harmonic science of tristimulus color. As I have found through my many years of investigating the topic of color and sound, virtually all research has been specifically focused on the relationship of tristimulus color to pitch which is inherently flawed as it does not yield a symmetry solution. Most scholars from either the fields of music or color are unaware that there exists a wide range of research on this topic within the field of linguistics dating back to the 1960’s. Specifically this area of research was initiated by the acclaimed MIT theoretical physicist Yilmaz regarding the direct correlation between tristimulus color and the tristimulus formant structure of phonemes (vowels and consonants). My own research has not only further validated his research, as well as the work of others, but has evolved the science considerably. The harmonic model which I have established is actually defining every attribute of music structure by color theory in detail. It is a 1:1 correspondence at multiple levels of hierarchy. For example, I can define why a particular chord behaves the way it does by it’s color properties. I can show why musical key exists and how scales are defined by their color properties, including demonstrating a previously unidentified scale wave structure. Furthermore, I have taken the pioneering work of Yilmaz and shown direct correlation to pitch and duration which he strongly hypothesized based on the evidence. What I mean is that not only can pitch be correlated directly with color, but duration (rhythm) can be as well. My research is directly following on a substantial amount of other research demonstrating that vowels are correlated with pitch and that consonants are correlated with duration. My model also demonstrates that the duration component of sound defines 12 categories of perception identical to the 12 categories of pitch perception, i.e., duration classes which are identical to pitch classes. From these overarching 12 fundamental categories of perception, I have elucidated a hierarchy of both macro and micro harmonic structures, i.e., that I have a harmonic mapping of microtonal pitch and micro duration as it’s counterpart for which concepts such as micro scales, micro chords, and micro keys can be discerned and manipulated intelligibly. The totality of this science is a fusing of the properties of color, the harmonic structure of music, and the harmonic structure of language. This results in the ability to implement all of these modalities for research, analysis, music reading, music education, and to explore new frontiers within the visual, musical, or linguistic domains, or a combination thereof.
    Beyond my theoretical research and writing, I have been intimately involved with how these findings can be implemented into music theory, analysis, composition, and music reading as an educational system. Since 2001, I have developed an entirely new music learning methodology which implements these theoretical concepts. I still employ Western music notation, but the organizational structure of the educational approach is dramatically altered. I have nearly 10 years of experience designing, researching, and teaching this system and the results defy all historical expectations and learning curves. I will mention just a few items. Students with no prior musical experience can read any pitch in any key signature immediately and play a corresponding note on a keyboard. They can also play a variety of songs in any key signature, in any octave location of the staff with both hands immediately. They can play every major scale with proper fingering in as little as 20 minutes, but definitely within the first lesson with full retention the following week (this includes a complete knowledge and understanding of the Circle of 5ths immediately, i.e., a truly equalized 12 maximally distinct color wheel does correlate to the pitch Circle of Fifhs). Within approximately 18 months on average, students with no prior experience can read and play advanced repertoire such as Beethoven’s Waldstein Piano Sonata. All of these things and much more, have been repeated time and time again. Age is virtually irrelevant. Even individuals with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADHD, dyscalculia, and autism can learn nearly as fast and in depth as traditional learners. Because of the use of all properties of color as they would exist for the visual artist, including concepts of color mixing and structural organization (i.e, color contrast, afterimage, complementary structure, primary structures, etc…), I am able to discuss concepts of music theory generally relegated to the collegiate level with 10 year olds.
    I believe that the color sound correlation will be a fundamental component of the future of music and related fields. I have recently published a new book titled A Rosetta Stone that is a comprehensive presentation of the aforementioned concepts. The following links relay this information.

    http://www.virtuosoism.com

    Link to A Rosetta Stone at GoogleBooks: http://books.google.com/books/about/A_Rosetta_Stone.html?id=Qx1MBAAAQBAJ

    YouTube link to the introductory aspects of color within my methodology: http://youtu.be/Viue81moXis

    YouTube link to Debussy’s Arabesque in full color: http://youtu.be/PqItTVJSHnU

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