"Ephemeral" 008 - Trying to see music

This stage culminated in a video:

Dylan’s ‘Don’t think twice’ in Blue Major

How did it emerge?

Having cognitively manipulated existing works of art produced by others in the last stage of the project, in order to generate the ‘concept’ of an image that only existed in Mufa’s imagination, and which was constrained by the pre-existing potential provided by others – the time is perhaps ripe to attempt to apply the same concept to a wider range of art.
Is it possible to visualise music?…. and the logical juxtaposition – is it possible to hear the music in a piece of visual art?

Music is based on sounds, and humans like to organise pitch along a measured continuum. The continuum can be divided (as on a piano) into12 equidistant points, which is known as the chromatic scale and labelled
A, A+, B, C, C+, D, D+ E, F, F+, G, and G+.
There are many cultural specific music scales.
The dominant scale in traditional western music is the diatonic scale which uses 1,3,5,6,8,10,12.
Hence the key of A major is A, B, C+, D, E, F+ G+

Colour can similarly be organised equidistantly around a circle, and equally culturally specifically into 12 points:

Red [4R,0Y,0B]
Red-orange [3R,1Y,0B]
Orange [2R,2Y,0B]
Yellow orange [1R,3Y,0B]
Yellow [0R,4Y,0B]
Yellow-green [0R,3Y,1B]
Green [0R,2Y,2B]
Blue-green [0R,1Y,3B]
Blue [0R,0Y,4B]
Blue purple [1R,0Y,3B]
Purple [2R,0Y,2B]
Red purple [3R,0Y,1B]

In both cases the continuum returns to the starting point.

Hence it is possible to match an arbitrary colour and an arbitrary note and then plot the remaining notes and colours according to their corresponding distance from the two roots.

Selecting the colour red and the note C we get:

R = C
Ro = C+
O = D
Yo = D+
Y = E
Yg = F
G = F+
Bg = G
B = G+
Bp = A
P = A+
Rp = B

This gives a ‘language’ whereby a sound can be represented by a colour and a colour can be represented by a sound. More significant is the correspondence of the relationship with other colours and notes. The relationship is a constant.
The arbitrary starting point means that the language has many dialects, each of which will be defined by a musical key and a root colour.

Hence the major key of G (given as an example – all major scales will be the same) matched against the root of Blue would give:

R = B
Ro = C
O =
Yo = D
Y =
Yg = E
G =
Bg = F+
B = G
Bp =
P = A
Rp =

Or………A diatonic scale in Blue Major is represented by – B,P,R,Ro,Yo,Yg and Bg

Why is this significant?

It is such a simple principle that it cannot be new – but the close ‘coincidental’ relationship between sound and colour certainly isn’t familiar territory in ‘popular’ art (I am certainly not aware of any major works that are predicated on this observation).

However it does present a number of possibilities for exploring whether this ‘harmonious physics’ translates into ‘harmonious aesthetics’.

By taking a musical score and plotting it in terms of colour instead of the usual musical notation you can derive an alternative visual format.
This is the first 32 bars [128 beats] of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t think Twice, it’s alright”.

[For anyone not familiar with the tune (or indeed for anyone who is) here is a fantastic reggae version off the ‘Live at Budokan album’]

However – a two dimensional digital image cannot hope to relate to a piece of music which is a temporal experience.
Therefore – the ‘art’ in this stage of the project is a video version of the above image.
The music in the video is the published score faithfully programmed into a sequencer by Mufa and given a very simple treatment and arrangement. It is simply a step in the reciprocal process of creating music from an image.

The next stage in the project will be an attempt to refine the concept and apply it to a painting in order to extract the music that already exists in the painting………….

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