Emotional Energy in Music
The Colors of MusicIn the true power music I have listened to I have found only a small number of power types. Seven, in fact. And they have qualities that match the seven evolutionary steps, the Soul Emotions, outlined in the first chapter. The seven rainbow colors constitute a very convenient vocabulary for discussing the energies. I don’t believe that power music conveys color in a literal sense—the Hallelujah Chorus probably doesn’t bring the color orange to mind in most listeners—but most people associate certain traits with each color and those traits correlate nicely with the emotional aspects of the music energies.
When one musical octave is finished, another one commences and progresses with twice as many vibrations as were present in the first octave, and so the notes are repeated on a finer scale. In the same way, when the scale of colors visible to the ordinary is completed in the violet, another octave of finer invisible colors, with exactly twice as many vibrations, will commence and progress on precisely the same law.In the color violet, we can see the spectrum returning to the beginning, red. One can imagine the color bands repeating in higher and higher octaves of vibration, all the way up to what is known as the “emotional plane”. If that plane of existence consists of one octave of vibration (a 2 to 1 frequency ratio) then we have a reason to think that musical power may really carry color in an esoteric way. There are a lot of “if’s” in all of this and it is still hypothetical conjecture but it makes sense in a certain simple and elegant kind of way.
The relevance of the keyMost listeners agree that different keys have a different quality or “feel”. The “sharp” keys (G, D, A, E, B major) are bright and lively. The flat keys (F major, B flat major etc.) are more solemn and grounded. C major has a bright quality but is more stark and bold than the sharp keys. If you listen to enough music and are aware of the tonic key and the color energy, it is easy to conclude that there is a natural key for each color or energy. Indeed the key of C major is used for marches and other Red music so often that it cannot be coincidence. We will see later that the key of D major is unmistakably a favorite context for power music of the Orange variety. E is bright and joyful; F is the “earth tone” and has solid feel to it, and is a natural context for the Green energy.
Other color-music correlationsAmong composers, the Russian Alexander Scriabin associated colors with keys, but in a different way. Oliver Messiaen, a French writer of contemporary music, associated colors with chords but not in any systematic way. The musically intuitive author Corinne Heline, in Color and Music in the New Age, is on the right track when she ascribes a certain color to an entire work, according to the “feel” of that work. She ascribes color nuances to specific sentiments, for example: carmine with strength; bright brick red with anger; scarlet with pride; silver-green with life; greenish-gray with pessimism, etc.2 These assignments, however interesting they may be, seem a bit arbitrary and unsystematic, and we are not given any good reasons to believe that the music actually carries these colors inherently.
Notes (see Bibliography):
1 Garder, Sounding the Inner Landscape p. 15.
2 Heline, Color and Music in the New Age p. 40
3 Bassano, Healing with Music and Color