The Sound of Blue

klein blue International Klein Blue. A study conducted by Wichita University consistently connected blue to C1 (32.7 Hz) and C3 (130.81 Hz) on a keyboard.

 

Blue. The colour of the world’s edge, a place beyond the cartographer’s ink, allowing the imagination to unfurl; it is the colour of the ocean as we leave the shore, the darkening folds of water provoke unease.

What is the relationship between colour and sound? As a species are we wired to find certain combinations of light and pitch pleasing or even logical?

The correlation between light and sound has been theorised abundantly. This is not a new phenomenon, being explored by Isaac Newton in the 17th century. In a letter to the Royal Society in 1675 Newton pondered whether rays of light emitted certain vibrations or frequencies:

I suppose, that as bodies of various sizes, densities, or tensions, do by percussion or other action excite sounds of various tones & consequently vibrations in the Air of various bigness so when the rays of light, by impinging on the stiff refracting superficies excite vibrations in the aether, those rays, whatever they be, as they happen to differ in magnitude, strength or vigor, excite vibrations of various bigness; the biggest, strongest or most potent rays, the largest vibrations & others shorter, according to their bigness strength or power.

Blue. The colour of isolation, or solitude, its various gradients moving from despair to quietude; it is the colour that sits between ourselves and others, a distance that cannot be known or measured.

The question as to whether the vibrations of light can be translated in audible terms is still debated today. An interesting 2004 study by Wichita State University investigated the integration of auditory and visual sensory information:

Seventy-one participants were presented sine wave tones along with seven on-screen colored boxes. Participants chose which color “fit best” with each presented tone. Color choices from ten exposures to each tone across 80 trials indicated an inverse audio-visual sensory processing relationship between wavelength and frequency of light versus wavelength and frequency of sound. Analyses suggest a consistent and symmetrical data pattern revealing a quasi-linear relationship between pitch and color that suggests a natural, stable, and universal auditory/visuo-sensory neurological processing algorithm for simple tones when presented with basic colors.

Blue. The colour of memory, of loss; it is the colour of languid states, we sink into its opiate warmth.

The Sound of Blue. A warm tone, modulating in even curves, it transports us into emptiness.

3 thoughts on “The Sound of Blue

  1. I came across your website when searching for others who have done contact recordings of trees and you just happen to also have information which will help me for a university paper I’m writing! Great work.

    Like

  2. I stumbled upon your site when searching for others who have done contact recordings of trees and you just happen to have information which will help me with a university paper! Great work.

    Like

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