Color Music

Color Music


music accompanied by a sequence of lights based on some scale of correspondences.

Theories of color music have been advanced since the 18th century, chiefly by scholars (L.-B. Castel, A. Rimington, F. I. Iur’ev, and C. Loew), who sought correspondences of sound and light based on mechanical analogies. The idea of color music did not find genuine realization until the 20th century, when musicians and artists—such as A. N. Scriabin, A. Schönberg, G. Gidoni, and T. Wilfred—turned their attention to the subject. In their hands color music became more sophisticated and eventually involved not only a changing of color but the projection of complex colors and shapes.

The combination of projected light and music (svetomuzyka) is regarded by such theoreticians as B. M. Galeev and I. A. Pravdiuk not as a mere echoing of the music by color and light but as a complement and a unified set of images that form part of an audiovisual polyphony. Whether color music should be considered an independent art form is still being debated by such scholars as V. V. Vanslov and F. Popper.

Work on the theory and performance of color music is carried on in the USSR at the Prometei Design Bureau in Kazan, the color music studios in Kharkov, and the A. N. Scriabin Museum in Moscow. Foreign organizations interested in color music include the New York Light Ensemble, the Philips Corporation in the Netherlands, Siemens and Halske AG in the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Edmund Scientific Company in the USA.


Leont’ev, K. Tsvet “Prometela.” Moscow, 1965.
lur’ev, F. I. Muzyka sveta. Kiev, 1971.
Galeev, B. M., and S. A. Andreev. Printsipy konstruirovaniia svetomuzykal’nykh ustroistv. Moscow, 1973.
Iskusstvo svetiashchikhsia zvukov: Sb. statei. Kazan, 1973.
Vanslov, V. V. “Izobrazitel’noe iskusstvo i muzyka.” In the collection Estetika izhizn’, fasc. 4. Moscow, 1975.
Materialy Vsesoiuznoi shkoly molodykh uchenykh po probleme “Svet i muzyka” (Tret’ia konferentsiia). Kazan, 1975.
Galeev, B. Svetomuzyka: Stanovlenie i sushchnost’ novogo iskusstva. Kazan, 1976.
Popper, F. Naissance de l’ari cinétique. Paris, 1967.


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