Chitarra classica
Chitarra classica. Click for attribution

Toccare le corde della chitarra con i polpastrelli (see translation following), carezzandole e accostando l’orecchio alla bella morbida cassa intarsiata per coglierne le vibrazioni più intime. Ho passato così tra i momenti più belli della vita.

Non amo la chitarra suonata con le unghie. E’ bella solo nelle musiche andaluse, ma per altre musiche il suono, più potente, è però meno ricco e più meccanico.

In altre parole ha meno colore.


Divagando, cosa possono avere in comune il concetto di colore in musica e quello di colore nel pensiero / scrittura?

Foro della chitarra. Click for attribution

[English translation.

Touching the guitar strings with bare fingertips, caressing them while drawing our ear close to the beautiful, soft-wooden inlaid body to perceive its most intimate vibrations. I so spent some of the most beautiful moments in my life.

I do not like the guitar sound when strings are plucked with nails. It is beautiful only in Flamenco music, while for other music though more powerful the sound is not as rich and more mechanical.

In other words it is less colourful.


What can (I’m digressing) the concept of colour in music and that of colour in thought / writing possibly have in common?

See our next post and its discussion for answers to this question]

6 thoughts on “Toccare le corde della chitarra con i polpastrelli, l’orecchio alla cassa

  1. Someone feeling sad has the “blues”; we are “green” with envy or we are “green behind the ears” when we are new to something. One may be “red” with confusion and we see “la vie en rose”.
    Tying colors and feelings is nothing new and music is feelings.


    1. Good contribution Paul, and in fact our senses seem to be somewhat connected in our brain and there is some level of synesthesia in many (all?) of us.

      I never heard “green behind the ears”, but numerous are the phrases I don’t know.

      I was once talking here about the Seven Hills, and Andreas commented: “Isn’t Rome a bit over the hill”?
      A good jest (=over the top) which I didn’t get at that time. Rome (our government) is over the hill. Sfortunatamente. But pls spare me a conversation on Signor Berlusconi.


  2. Color is vibration — the wavelengths of light — so sound full of vibrations and harmonics, created as one vibration overlaps another, could be called sound full of color. I remember reading a saying of Goethe about the world being composed of the “deeds and sufferings of light.”

    Perhaps when we say that music has color, we mean depth or dimension, which again is something we only experience in what we see if there are subtleties of color.


    1. Goethe’s theory of colours is a splendid nightmare. And I wonder how these waves being so different can interact. Unknown territory.

      I more simply thought of musical colours as timbres, which allow us to distinguish a clarinet from an oboe, a sax from trumpet etc.

      In some languages the connection between the concepts of colour and timbre is more evident: Klangfarbe is musical timbre in German (Farbe = colour), and in English we have timbre but also tone colour, if I’m not wrong, an exact equivalent of Klangfarbe.


      1. I have a special fondness for splendid nightmares, like phlogiston — scientific theory doing the best it can with the facts available.

        I do think there has to be some intrinsic connection between the measurable effects of certain types of vibrations on the human system and the subjective experience of those colors, sounds and so on. You know how subsonics can actually create an apprehensive emotional mood. I don’t mean that this understanding could replace the instinctive art of creating music, but I suspect would account for some of the broader effects — the way that we react differently to a piece played by a string trio to the same theme handled by a chorus, for example. Or orchestrations by different composers.

        I was in a music class once and brought up the question of those varying effects, and a woman who actually was studying to be a performer kept yelling at me “It’s the TONE COLOR!” as if that were an explanation.


        1. Various are the effects of sound and colour vibrations on people and I have no idea how far psychology and neuropsychology of colour & music have gone in order to escape subjectiveness.

          I know there’s a lot of music and colour therapy around based on research being made but in my next post I’ll just mention a few simple things I wanted to say on the topic of ‘colour’, adding Paul’s and your contribution at the end possibly.

          Update: I wrote the said post 4-5 times but I can’t sort out ideas. It must be the Christmas effect


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