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An Artistic Idea

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Penguin

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The association between music and color is not new. There have long been debates and discussions about the colors of certain sounds, and some people have a condition in which they perceive sounds in various colors. It's a fascinating subject I can't hope to briefly cover here, so I won't try.

About a year ago, I started to learn music from a position of complete musical illiteracy. I've recently put my flippers to a keyboard piano with some success (think "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"), and it has given me an idea.

It's well known Beethoven composed beautiful music despite his deafness, and while he had the ability to "hear" the music within his mind, I wonder if he might have appreciated seeing the music in an array of color. Imagine seeing a pattern of colors play out in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to watch as much as the music is to hear.

Now let's add to it. Write some music for a poem like Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," and play the music as the color array for it dances across a large, theater-sized screen. Then we add silhouetted actors, playing out the story before us, in a way that is complementary to the music and the colors.

What I imagine is something that looks a little like this:

I've tried various methods for assigning colors to various notes on the piano, with limited success. The trouble is coming up with a palette that looks pleasing, without being so similar as to be indistinguishable, and without being so disparate as to be jarring. I also believe that whatever the final product, it would meet with limited success, since the majority of people don't seem terribly interested in such artistic displays.

In my experience, pipe smokers tend to be more contemplative, and appreciative of the arts in general, so I thought you all might appreciate this kind of idea, and I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have on it. While I envision classics like Shakespeare, Poe, Dickens, and others portrayed in this way, I can also see where one might give historical lessons or even explanations of various factual concepts with a method like this.
 

Corncobcon

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I think that what mood a person is in could determine certain colors for this scene. Happy? Maybe more oranges, yellows, and reds. Sad? Maybe shades of gray, dark greens. Aggrivated? Black, dark blues, purples. What do you think?
 

Penguin

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Corncobcon":7jd2t8fj said:
I think that what mood a person is in could determine certain colors for this scene.  Happy? Maybe more oranges, yellows, and reds.   Sad?  Maybe shades of gray, dark greens.  Aggrivated?  Black, dark blues, purples.    What do you think?
I've been thinking of that, and I think tonight I finally worked out a system that allows for a natural color arrangement to fit the mood of the music. It gets a little convoluted, but essentially every note on a piano is assigned a color. The bass clef and treble clef colors are then "averaged" into a palette that fits the mood of a particular section (a chord or a measure, for example). In this way I don't need to artificially change the palette, but can keep note colors consistent throughout, depending on whether a chord is a C Major (light pastel colors) or C Minor (darker earth tones).

I'll see if I can post an example of what I mean, because a picture is worth a thousand words. Mind you, this is just for the music portion of it. It would take a hand more talented than mine to complete an animation, though I'm learning the skills to do just that.
 

Brewdude

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Interesting concept Rob. As a lifelong musician I can't say that I've thought in terms of colors. However the emotions that certain songs carry are more than obvious to me.

Having said that I did once write a tune I called "Black" since the gist was of a very dark and somewhat evil intent. Never wrote that one down and now have forgotten how it goes. Prolly just as well too!


Cheers,

RR


 

Penguin

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Each note starts out a specific color, so that to begin, C4 is always a particular color, F4, and so on. Averaging the colors, however, leads to a palette more befitting the mood of a chord.

For example, for the F Minor described above, we end up with an array of dark blues, moderate grays, and deep purples. Different articulations, dynamics, and other marks have an effect on the depth and transparency of the colors.

I could get into the technical details, but to keep it simple, here's the color palette we end up with:



This, of course, would merely serve as the base palette for whatever image was assigned to it, and the next measure would change the color palette as the music and story progresses.
 

Penguin

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I've had a development in this idea: themes.

It's true that in my system, each note has its own color, but suppose you wanted to do a presentation for a story like A Study in Scarlet. It would certainly make sense to have a lot of scarlet in your imagery, but the original color scheme for my system doesn't really allow for that.

I've developed a way to easily add themes to the color scheme, so you have a theme for "A Study in Scarlet" that is all different shades of scarlet, from nearly white to nearly black. I've got ideas for "Fade to Black," "Blue Bayou," and so on. Of course, I'm also developing different color schemes that use more than one color, so you could have up to twelve different colors in their various hues, with sufficient variations in saturation and value to have any color you could want.
 
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