The Color of Bach

Play a Bach concerto, close your eyes, then envision a color. What color do you see? Stephen Palmer, a vision scientists from UC Berkeley, can predict what sort of colors you'd pick from the music you're listening to:

“We can predict with 95 percent accuracy how happy or sad the colors people pick will be, based on how happy or sad the music is that they’re listening to,” said Stephen Palmer, a University of California, Berkeley vision scientist, in a statement.

Palmer and a team of researchers at Berkeley asked nearly 100 people to listen to 18 pieces of classical music that varied in key and tempo. The participants —half from San Francisco and half from Guadalajara, Mexico—were then asked to choose five colors that they most associated with each piece, selecting from a 37-color palette.

The results, published May 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that people in both countries picked bright, warmer colors when they heard faster, more upbeat music and darker, cooler colors for pieces in minor keys.

Those connections, he says, are largely based on emotional connections our brains make. In other words, if a classical music piece is happy and lively, people are more likely to pick colors that are also happy and lively because they feel happy and lively when listening to the music. 

Melody Kramer of National Geographic's Pop Omnivore has the post: Link - Thanks Anna Kukelhaus!


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