How we can convert colour to sound?can any give brief explain.


I recorded an installation foyr the national gallery that was designed to portray a Gaugin painting in sound, I ended up talking to a few people with synaesthesia and asking them which pitches related to which colours. Again, it's completely subjective, every synaesthete will experience this differently, but it does give you a point of reference for a sound/colour palette.

Also, there are a few programs out there that will convert images to picture, so i'd scanned parts of paintings, pitched them according to my "palette" and manipulated them into drone form. http://photosounder.com/ for instance.


Arty ;)

  • 2
    Nicklaus probably meant to say "will convert images to sound".
    – Asimov
    Feb 27 '13 at 16:39
  • 1
    That's the one :D
    – Nicklaus
    Feb 27 '13 at 17:56



I shall chime in by saying that sonifying colour or other data is a very subjective process. There is an infinite amount of approaches so it is up to the artist to provide a sonic form to a stream of incoming data. How do you interpret it? Color to pitch, brightness to frequency or RGB>R-pitch,G-pan,B-depth etc...

Please also have a good read on Synesthesia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

And check out this inspiring video by Neil Harbisson who was born colour-blind and now uses an implant that turns colours into audible frequencies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygRNoieAnzI


Yeah I've basically done the same as above but as an interactive installation using max/MSP/Jitter

"The patch was inspired by ideas of cross disciplinary techniques and synaesthesia. It is based on the notion that expressionistic painting, especially the work of Mark Rothko shares similar intention to that of contemporary ambient music. I propose that the focus on washes of colour seen in the work of Rothko is the visual equivalent of the use of drones in ambient music. The patch attempts to present this idea in a sensorial form by marrying colour and sound.

The RGB analysis is achieved by using the cv.mass object to get an average of 'on' pixels for each plane of the matrix. I calibrated the numbers output by the object to between 0-255, creating a rough RGB value system. I obtained the RGB values of each shade of colour and created a system that fades in each drone based on the RGB numbers with a range of 160. For example if one shade has an RGB value of 100, 160, 80 then the related drone will have a gain of 1 when the incoming signal is exactly those numbers and a gain of 0 when the incoming signal is 160 either side; meaning a analysis of say 50, 80, 40 would ramp the drone to a gain of 0.5.

The fade system means that smooth, real-time transitions can be achieved when the user scans over the colours. The drones are triggered using a groove~ object meaning they can be looped and held indefinitely. I use a windowing function to create seamless loop points."

Sorry for the lengthy document but it was easier to copy and paste then write new! :)

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