Applying Concepts of Musical Consonance and Dissonance to Colour
An edited version of this article was published in the May 2004 edition of the journal Leonardo (Vol. 37, No. 2)
Katherine Lubar is a painter and musician who applies concepts of musical consonance and dissonance to the use of colour in her paintings. This article on colour intervals is a most comprehensive account of how she does this in her work, it is also an excellent article documenting a colour to music interval correspondence. (Author Comment)
"After comparing the colour intervals to their musical counterparts, I do feel they share something in common — the colour intervals don’t have the same character as each of the musical intervals, but both seem to follow a similar pattern in terms of which work harmoniously and which don’t. In addition, I have realized, from this research, the importance of the element of contrast to both visual and musical compositions. So while these correlations may not all work on a practical level, they can at least give us a greater understanding of colour on a more metaphorical level. The idea of correlating colour intervals to musical intervals could possibly provide a new method of examining the way colour is used in visual compositions. It is worth analysing paintings that work well colourwise, to see how their intervals relate in terms of consonance and dissonance. I would invite the reader to apply the principles outlined in this paper to such works and to use their own perception of colour to investigate these ideas further."