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Extracts from Pitch, Pi, and other Musical Paradoxes (a practical guide to natural microtonality)
Chapter 4: Pitch and Colour Connections

Another mythological relationship which, like the music of the spheres has persisted, is the concept that pitch and colour are in some mysterious way related. Theories have been postulated by the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (1872 -1915), the Rosicrucian Order and many others.

Some of the synaesthetic correlations between colour and particular keys, chords, and pieces of music may be caused by the association of auras, or subjective ideas, but the intent here is to explore the possibilities of a connection through mathematics and physics, and to extend our knowledge about sound.

Note: Colours displayed from this website may vary with equipment used.

Scriabin's theory was that each note in the octave could be associated with a specific colour, and in Prometheus, the Poem of Fire, he wrote the colours and music to match. His arrangement was:

C Db D Eb E F F# G Ab A Bb B
Red Violet Yellow Steel Pale






Orange Purple Green Steel Pale


Berlioz, Debussy and Wagner were also interested in music and colour and Rimsky-Korsakov considered C as white.

The Rosicrucian Order based their theories on Just intonation and suggest that note names, frequencies, and colours should be:

Note C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
Colour Yellow-


Green Green-


Blue Blue-


Violet Violet-




Red Red-


Orange Yellow
Hertz 256 288 320 341 192 213 240

Colour may be defined mathematically by the electromagnetic wavelength to which it corresponds. Pitch may be described by frequency, to which the wavelength is inversely proportional. But there is no general agreement on which colour matches which note, pitch or range.

The spectrum from a rainbow is described as: Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet Frequencies in the visible spectrum are between 1014 & 1015 Hertz. Wavelengths of visible light are between .1 & .8 of a micron, Guy Murchie in Music Of The Spheres states that invisible ultra-violet has a wavelength of 3,700 angstroms: that invisible infra-red 7,400 angstroms; and that this doubling suggests an octave. According to Van Nostrano's Encyclopedia, results on tests with a spectrometer gave the following results for human perception of colour:

Colour Violet Blue Green Yellow Orange Red
Angstroms 3900

Audible frequencies are from 20 Hz. to 25,000 Hz. The basis of the logic for pitch/colour connection is as follows: Assume the speed of light in a vacuum is a constant i.e. 299,792,458 metres per second. The wave length of a particular colour may be expressed in metres (nanometres or Angstroms). We assume that 299,792,458 metres is equivalent to a number of wavelengths, which may be determined by dividing 299,792,458 by the distance in metres of one wavelength. i.e. frequency = (metres travelled by light per second) _ (wavelength of specific colour)

Eg: for 5800 Angstroms (yellow) Frequency = 299,792,458 / 0.000,000,58 = 516,883,530,000,000 Hz.

As octaves are a result of doubling or halving frequency this high frequency may be reduced to a precise audible value by cumulative halving.

The following table shows the results of this logic:

Note Hertz LucyTuned Equivalent Wavelength Angstroms/10 Nanometres Approximate Colour
A 440.00 619.69 Orange-Yellow E89804
A# 457.75 595.66 Yellow-Orange E3B555
Bb 472.27 577.34 Yellow FFFF00
B 491.32 554.95 Yellow-Green C7DE21
Cb 506.91 537.89 Green-Yellow A2D123
B# 511.13 533.44 Green 46FB46
C 527.35 517.03 Green 00A200
C# 548.62 496.99 Green-Blue 497C62
Db 566.03 481.70 Blue-Green 409CAC
D 588.86 463.03 Blue 0000FF
D# 612.61 445.08 Blue-Violet 9583FE
Eb 632.05 431.39 Violet-Blue AD82FF
E 657.54 414.67 Violet C488C2
Fb 678.41 401.91 Ultra Violet C534AF
E# 684.06 398.59 Invisible Violet
F 705.77 772.66 Invisible Red
F# 734.23 742.71 Infra Red E62800
Gb 757.53 719.86 Red DE2138
G 788.08 691.96 Red-Orange FD4F0D
G# 819.87 665.13 Orange-Red F36F01
Ab 845.89 644.67 Orange FF8000

Here is what Isaac Newton thought:

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Related Pages
Chapter 5 Scalemaking

Diagram of clockface with approximate colours

Diagram of global connections between frequencies, wavelengths and colours

Stars and Colours

Diagram of harmonic colours