# Which Colors Correspond With Which Notes???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Markamb1, Dec 29, 2018.

1. ### ixlramp

Jan 25, 2005
UK
I suspected you were =) so i sent a PM.
Your choice of colours isn't loosely based on the science. I understand the need to 'massage' the colours around so that all 12 tones have distinguishable colours, but all your correspondances are offset by at least 2 semitones.
Because it doesn't matter if you shift them all one way or the other, you might as well have something that is somewhat based on the science, instead of choosing B for blue, which is completely arbitrary.

I suggest this which mostly roughly lines up with the science:
Gs reds
As oranges
B yellow
Cs greens
Ds blues
E indigo
Fs violets

The commonly known rainbow colours are ROYGBIV but indigo is not actually particularly distinguishable from blue. Isaac Newton seemed to add it because he felt a need to have 7 main spectral colours.

Indigo is very different from purple. Purple is not a spectral colour, that is, it cannot be the result of a single wavelength, it is actually a mixture of red and violet wavelengths, and is the section of the colour wheel that 'joins' the 2 ends of the spectral colours.
In your system, purple should lie between violet and red, if you want to use it, but your system seems to use only spectral colours.

//////////////////////////////

On that subject and referring to my results, it occurred to me that instead of choosing between violet and red for F, F#, we could combine the colours to add purple to the system, making the system suitably cyclical and matching the cyclical colour wheel.
Usefully, this adds another colour, to help with the 'multiple reds' / 'mulitple violets' problem.
F# appears with very roughly equal amounts of red and violet, so would be close to purple.

2. ### Markamb1

Oct 24, 2018
I remember the issue with indigo purple. Loosely based as far as the rainbow and rough estimation of the nm measurements of the light giving me a starting point. Your concept is fine tuned to the science.

For one thing I want one color, light and dark per tone I suppose.....one color for notes with no sharps. So that the similarity in relationship between the the natural?and the sharp are obvious and that when there is no sharp that’s obvious too.i have kids as well as myself in mind. If I honestly believed that I could be unlocking something in the mind or the universe by developing this strictly along the lines of the science....then I would.... but once done it doesn’t seem very intuitive or demonstrative. Which is the whole point for me. B is blue is one very intuitive thing as it starts with the same letter and almost perfect Center between the most commonly used notes on the fretboard for beginners. You can memorize up and down from there.

B for blue was only the shift of everything by a whole at least the way that I had developed it. I was never considering E as anything other than violet or red.... as said before I always thought of blue as the lowest note...so e on 4 is lowest but conveniently B on 5 string. As arbitrary as it is scientifically it gives me something to start off from....I’m actually going to color code the fretboard to experiment....color code sheet music and see how that feels and works. I’ve been spending a lot less time on music than I was over the winter but I have been meaning to get back to this....

Even on the most basic physical level before and after reading all the science my mind told me...

See the rainbow as a bridge....red is the top so good starting point it’s longest from side to side....

Like a low note which has the most space between waves....so it’s the longest between side to side....

Not even getting into audible length per frequency....

This was all when I was only imagining a 4 string bass...

It has to be useful and intuitive... I could teach this to the very young and it would make sense to them.

I’d still love to see what you come up with. Purple is confusing.

3. ### ixlramp

Jan 25, 2005
UK
I might try the CIE 1931 colour space chromaticity diagram which may be more reliable.
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIE_1931_color_space
"The CIE 1931 color spaces were the first defined quantitative links between distributions of wavelengths in the electromagnetic visible spectrum, and physiologically perceived colors in human color vision."

Usefully, the non-spectral colours across the straight line base are the 'line of purples' included on a colour wheel (https://tubikstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/color-wheel-for-designers-tubik-blog-1.png), that join violet back to red. Looking at that you can see how violet differs from purple.

You can see from the linked article on indigo that it is a colour very close to blue, not clearly distinguishable.
However to have 7 distinguishable colours and make the colours cyclic you could possibly use purple between violet and red:

E red
F orange
F# light orange
G yellow
G# light yellow
A green
A# light green
B blue
C violet
C# light violet
D purple
D# light purple

Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
4. ### Markamb1

Oct 24, 2018
To lay out the info the way that pic describes it.

E Red (Primary) Red
F Red Orange (Tertiary). Orange
F# Orange (Secondary). Light Orange
G Yellow Orange (Tertiary). Yellow
G# Yellow (Primary). Light Yellow
A Yellow Green (Tertiary). Green
A# Green (Secondary). Light Green
B Blue Green (Tertiary). Blue
C Blue (Primary). Purple/Indigo
C# Blue Purple (Tertiary). Light Purple/Indigo
D Purple (Secondary). Violet (what I’ve always thought of as pink)
D# Red Purple (Tertiary). Light violet (and light pink)

Oddly enough it’s less about purple that is confusing and more about what I should call red purple for pink and where it lays.

It’s interesting because in reality of how the Colors change the left side is the way it should be played out...the Colors don’t actually progress the way I’ve shown them on the right but it’s easier to comprehend. I guess it’s a question of purpose or goals. I’m not sure of the answer. However I still dont see the issue with purple. Red purple in my opinion is in the same position as the violet...the pink color made up of red and purple. As far as the color wheel is concerned my first look is good... I think it’s perhaps somewhere in the wave length details that it can be confused.

Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
5. ### Markamb1

Oct 24, 2018
The way you’ve done it has put the Colors out of order

6. ### Markamb1

Oct 24, 2018
when I type Indigo I get dark purple when I type violet I get various purple when I type ultra violet again purple. I have to type red purple to get that magenta or pink that I see before it goes back to red.

Kids were messing around with crayons so I doodled with what was available

7. ### Markamb1

Oct 24, 2018

It seems to me to be where infra red would meet ultra violet if it were to wrap around cyclically. Can see no way that pinkish or infra reds would belong between blue and violet

Here shows it your way. I’m lost in that one though. Blue and purple don’t make pink or red violet or red purple... you have to mix red and purple to make that pinkish color that red purple.

I think it would be easier to name it differently...

your way in that bottom chart could be called

Red orange yellow green blue purple pink purple..... lol

The other up top would be

Purple blue green yellow orange red pink

Swap that around for consistency purposes

Pink red orange yellow green blue purple

If this is true than perhaps E should be the pink color if in that infra red zone it has the widest wavelengths. It’s interesting how many different ways make me think about F or E to be red.
I’m not tuned into the science as deeply as you are. Im making very basic observations to develop a complicated system that will simplify things. Lol

Do appreciate the conversation though

Whats interesting though is that my way lands E and B, the notes with no sharps on 2 of the 3 Primary Colors. I think it’s key to have the notes land on solid deep Colors and lighten when they’re sharp... the other way just fails to click for me mentally.

I apologize if I’ve overlooked something big....it’s too late for me

Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
8. ### Markamb1

Oct 24, 2018
The closest answer is red purple and blue purple gives this very pale pink that’s still more purple....so red purple and red orange come closest to pale pink and not at all purple.

Dec 1, 2015
Leicester

10. ### -Asdfgh-

Apr 13, 2010
UK
For me it's C: puce, D: bright puce, E: dark puce, F: light puce, G: dusky puce, A: a lighter shade of pale, er puce, B: black

11. ### ixlramp

Jan 25, 2005
UK
Oops, sorry, insted of 'purple' i should have been writing 'magenta'. Magenta is the standard way to describe the colour between red and blue. For example the 'Cyan Magenta Yellow Black' system that is used in printing, the 3 colours are the colours between Red, Green, Blue.
You're right, purple is confusing, various sources differ on what hue 'purple' actually is and where it is placed on colour wheels.
The 'Line of purples' is probably better called the 'Line of magentas'.
Magenta does occur between violet and red, more specifically between blue and red. If you mix red and blue light equally you get magenta, RGB 255 0 255.
That 2nd 'visible spectrum' image you posted is clearly wrong to me too, there is no bright pinkish colour between blue and violet, even worse it's labelled 'Indigo'.
To be clear this image is not what i was suggesting, by 'purple' i meant 'magenta'.
Anyway ... =)

12. ### ixlramp

Jan 25, 2005
UK
I don't want to hijack this thread, but here are my latest results for my particular approach. Not suggesting this is suitable for your own approach.
It's been good to finally work through this thoroughly after many years.
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

I worked through my task again, this time using the standard reference of wavelength to colour, the CIE 1931 chromaticity diagram:
CIE 1931 color space - Wikipedia
CIE 1931 color space - Wikipedia
"The CIE 1931 color spaces were the first defined quantitative links between distributions of wavelengths in the electromagnetic visible spectrum, and physiologically perceived colors in human color vision."

The spectral colours are around the curved edge from red to violet, some wavelengths are labelled.
The non-spectral colours lie along the lower-right straight edge and in the interior.
To make the colours cyclic i decided to join violet to red using the colours along the straight line, which includes magenta (the pinkish colour).
In these chromaticity diagrams, a line between 2 points contains the colours created by mixing the end point colours, so assuming slightly overlapping octave-repeating visible spectrums, it's reasonable that the overlapping violet and red would indeed create the variations of magenta.

I found a CIE 1931 wavelength to colour converter here:
CIE convertor
It creates a coloured box that i colour-sampled in an image editing program to get the RGB values.

However, at the extreme ends of the spectral colours this converter creates slightly odd colours which do not match most of the other renderings of the CIE 1931 chromaticity diagram.
At the red end, some blue was added, so i removed that to keep Hue at 0 (spectral red).
At the violet end, the colours become far to close to magenta which is not a spectral colour, so i limited the Hue to 270 (spectral violet).

After all this the result is the top row in this image:

Which somewhat agrees with my first attempt in post 258.

The second row is the same colours all boosted to full brightness.

Next i dealt with the problem of having 3 identical reds F#-G# and 2 identical violets E-F.
I also made this cyclic by joining violet to red as described.
So i decided to transition from violet to red across E to G#, to avoid duplicated colours.
This needed 4 steps of equal 'perceptual colour change', this is where i used the CIE 1976 UCS diagram:
CIELUV - Wikipedia
CIELUV - Wikipedia
Which has 'perceptual uniformity'.
I found the point of Hue 270 violet and sampled the colours at the 5 equally spaced points along a straight line from that to the red corner.
Nicely, one point turned out to be almost pure magenta (equal mix of blue and red), the other 2 points are violet-magenta and magenta-red.

The 3rd row in the image shows the cyclic result.
All colours are clearly distinguishable, except lime-green and green which are quite close.

13. ### ixlramp

Jan 25, 2005
UK
On that colour wheel i posted called 'The basic colours':
purple should really be called magenta.
blue-purple (should be blue-magenta) is also violet.
blue-green is also cyan.

14. ### Markamb1

Oct 24, 2018
That may very well be the most thought out comparison of color to sound. Certainly here on this forum.

For me however it is in no way demonstrative in a self evident way. There’s is nothing intuitive nor immediately relatable, no clear cut pattern or design to grab hold of. E and B share common color characteristics with the notes that follow them even though they have no sharp and should in no way relate in color to the previous or next note. That is one thing that is not immediately evident for example.

I understand that whatever Colors we attribute to given notes...it may seem or even be completely arbitrary...as far usefulness goes. Made so much worse by the difficulty of trying make it useful to teach anything about Colors themselves by the woefully misleading names for given Colors.

You have given me a more than satisfactory answer for my original question but I can find no way to actually use it as a satisfactory solution for my application. Some people were right when they said that the Colors and notes do not correspond in a useful way.

However if newton and the rainbow be damned...as well as much of the technical information which followed and we were to simplify to the level of the people who might actually use this as a learning tool for music it self... we might ignore the color naming details and suggest...

Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Purple Pink

Then I have only two questions for you out of curiosity. Suspending disbelief and details.

Which Note do you believe should be red?

Should pink precede red or be at the very end of the color progression?

Color is simply too complex to have just worked from black to white. Which as faulty as it is, it’s kind of the way I always thought of it. I’m aware they’re shades and not Colors in themselves. I suppose I imagined it as pure low blackness growing lighter until you could see the reds...progressing through the rainbow until purple or violet like ultraviolet rays shot off and disappeared in a high frequency oblivion of ultraviolet pinkish light that becomes high white and invisible. I’m aware of all the reasons this is problematic.

I’ve always liked the distinction.....

Darkness is the absence of information
Light is the presence of information

Philosophically and socially, in a morally orienting way, it rings true too.

15. ### Markamb1

Oct 24, 2018

I still have no idea why newton chose this but if you look at E then look behind it turns out it would actually be exactly the way I had envisioned. That is if I was considering indigo purple and violet pink. Not much use in dark purple and purple.

Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
16. ### ixlramp

Jan 25, 2005
UK
Yes i agree that for your needs, you might need to choose something very out of line with the scientific approach, but keeping, if possible, the correct order of a colour wheel (which contains the order of the visible spectrum).

'Pink' is actually a lighter shade of red, so pink and red are the same colour. Or, if you are using 'light' versions of each colour, 'pink' is actually 'light red'.

Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
17. ### ixlramp

Jan 25, 2005
UK
If your system is as you stated earlier:

E red
F orange
F# light orange
G yellow
G# light yellow
A green
A# light green
B blue
C Indigo/purple
C# light indigo/purple
D violet
D# light violet

Then blue and indigo are actually 2 very similar colours, indigo is apparently 'slightly violetish blue'.
Note that purple is very different to indigo, purple is described as either dark violet or somewhere around magenta.

From Indigo - Wikipedia
"Later scientists conclude that Newton named the colors differently from current usage. According to Gary Waldman, "A careful reading of Newton's work indicates that the color he called indigo, we would normally call blue; his blue is then what we would name blue_green, cyan or light blue."

I agree with this, looking at the visible spectrum, there is a very distinguishable cyan / turquoise colour between green and blue.
It takes up a significant amount of space on the spectrum.
If you were to pick 7 colours for the visible spectrum, cyan would certanly be one of them.
In the RGB colour system, cyan is the main colour between green and blue, so is as fundamental as yellow is.
It's unfortunate that Newton's 'indigo' mistake is still repeated and learnt by kids today, it's about time this was corrected.

So the traditionally stated ROYGBIV, from Newton's work, actually turns out to be:

Red Orange Yellow Green Cyan Blue Violet

Cyan is far more distinguishable from both green and blue than indigo is from blue, so i suggest using these 7 colours, shifted according to your need.
Now you have a choice of using cyan for C, or blue for B, that will determine what red is.
Looking at my scientific results, cyan is actually C#, so i suggest (assuming you want to stay with 7 spectral colours) using C as the 'centre', which it already often is in music:

Red F Orange G Yellow A Green B Cyan C Blue D Violet E

Which partially lines up with the scientific results if you compare with my 2nd row (spectral colurs only), only the Gs being orange is completely unaligned.
This also matches the 7 + 5 grouping of keys on a keyboard.

Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
18. ### 5StringBlues

Feb 26, 2009
Here we are...
My cats breath smells like catfood.

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19. ### Markamb1

Oct 24, 2018
Invaluable.

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20. ### Ian McLaughlin

Aug 11, 2018
Brooklyn NY USA
Eggshell is a finish, not a color, imo.

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