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Connection Color and Sound

Connection Color and Sound

Plato, Aristotle and Newton all found links between different musical tones and shades on the color spectrum. Because songs often carry specific emotional themes of optimism and energy, or nostalgia and regret, they may also create associations with very specific colors.

  • Sound and color have way more in common than we think. For starters, both are waves that alter the environment — and a moment — in some way. Sound is a mechanical wave that passes through a substance, and light is an electromagnetic wave that passes through a field to produce a visible spectrum — colors we can see.

    In fact, since Isaac Newton developed the color wheel in 1666, artists and composers have continued to connect it to sound and composition. When light is passed through a prism, there are seven colors, just as there are seven colors in the musical scale.

    Another connection? The similar emotions sound and color evoke. We can describe the sound of a trumpet as bright and warm, for example, elements we often associate with color.


  • Activity

    Listen to music that is composed in major key and write down all the colors you see. Now listen to music composed in minor key and do the same, writing down a list of colors the music makes you imagine. What colors did you associate most strongly with each song? Do you associate those same colors with the mood the songs evoke?

    How do you use see sound? Share your thoughts on Facebook and help others gain from your experience!

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