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Connection Color and Sound

Connection Colour and Sound

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

  • Sound and colour 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 — colours we can see.

    In fact, since Isaac Newton developed the colour 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 colours, just as there are seven colours in the musical scale.

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


  • Activity

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