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How should music and images be related to each other? There has been considerable speculation about this question. A variety of views have been expressed by the people identified on these pages. Here, often in their own words, are some of their thoughts.

My debt to Karl Gerstner will be obvious to anyone who has seen his book The Forms of Color. In chapter 9, "Correspondences", he observed that "...each musical tone can be defined by three parameters: 1) frequency (pitch), 2) amplitude (volume), and 3) overtones (tone color). Each color can likewise be defined by three parameters: 1) color tone (or hue, according to Munsell), 2) lightness (or value), and 3) purity (or chroma)." I have used the term saturation, rather than purity or chroma, for consistency with related material which uses the hue-saturation-value (HSV) color model.

Color Scales?
Dark is Deep
 Size to Pitch
Loud or Muted
Color Tone & Overtones
Point or Line
Modulation to Nuance
Fast is Sharp
Constrast Intervals
Mode to Color Shade
Linear Path to Melody
A Higher Law
Fundamentally Different

It seems fair to conclude that no simple mapping will serve to effectively relate the music and image. This is actually good news for the artist, who relies upon color and color combinations as one of the most essential mechanisms for conveying expression. It suggests that a variety of relationships will likely work. Indeed the hope that a simple one-to-one mapping might be discovered or contrived seems in retrospect to have been quite naive.

Copyright 1998–2001 Fred Collopy. This document was last updated on 10/13/01; it is located at