Pandora releases playlists to illustrate a connection of sound and color

In what should be of special interest to synesthetes, Pandora has released seven interesting playlists intended to demonstrate a relationship between sound and color. Unsurprisingly to those who know of his work, Steve Keller (Sonic Strategy Director at Pandora) is involved  in the project and authored an explanatory blog post.

Keller invokes Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, who asserted that music and color could not be separated. Keller’s thesis is that Kandinsky wasn’t being metaphoric — there is a scientific basis to tying together these two sensual perceptions. This comes as no surprise to those who have a neurological condition called synesthesia which crosses the brain wires for different senses, and a particular version of it known as chromesthesia which mixes up audio and visual senses.

A more general title for this research field is Crossmodalism. That study indicates that there might be hard wiring which associates certain music characteristics (volume, pitch instrumentation, and others) with colors. It is as if there is an audio spectrum, and it is aligned with the color spectrum.

Steve Keller writes: “To bring the science to life, we’ve used it to inform the curation of seven color matched playlists, based on the seven colors of the visible spectrum (often listed as colors of the rainbow): red, orange, yellow, green blue, indigo and violet.”

The playlists are linked in the article.



Brad Hill