We automatically associate music with feelings – but so do colors, new research has shown. It seems that music is most closely related to emotions: it is not for nothing that cheerful and optimistic melodies immediately lift our mood, and the strict and solemn sounds of the organ rather plunge us into melancholy. But the perception of music, the feelings it evokes in us, and the colors associated with it represent an exciting area for science: according to a new study from the University of Berkeley, our brains are programmed to make connections between perceptions of music, colors and feelings.
A game of the senses
So, for example, in the mentioned study, Mozart’s Concerto No. 1 in G major was associated by the researchers with sparkling and cheerful tones such as yellow and orange, and rather the sad Requiem in D minor – with a gloomy gray-bluish. The results of the study clearly showed the connection between color, emotion and music. With the help of a special palette, it was unequivocally proven that people tend to associate fast melodies in major keys with light and sunny colors, and slow and serious music with darker and gray colors.
The results of the research could have an impact on creative therapies or marketing strategies and be used, for example, to produce appropriate music visualisers. They also offer an interesting look at synaesthesia, which is a mixed sensation of different sensory perceptions such as hearing, sight and smell. In sound-color synesthesia, for example, listening to sounds unlocks color perception. Researchers have also concluded that music is capable of overcoming cultural barriers. For this reason, people from the United States and Mexico associated the same classical works performed on the organ with the same colors.