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Cheyne Winterthieme

Not Only a Musician

January 4, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Some people do not seem to understand it when a musician talks about 'color' in a piece of music... this poem is my thoughts on the subject.

Touching strings of quivering silver,
In a sure and steady hand,
The violin bow draws a stroke
Picturesque and grand.

Lifting notes right off the page
Sending them floating in the air
Painting in glowing colors-
Black and white no longer there.

Working with care to capture
Glowing thoughts that open like flowers
So beautifully new, yet wordless -
Like the fresh, early wee hours.

Every detail thoughtfully distinguished
The heart laid open and bare;
Every movement filled with passion-
Every breath a prayer.

Look! Observe with your eyes!
Listen! To what every ear can tell:
An accomplished violinist
Is not only a musician, but an artist as well.

© CFW 2012

From elise stanley
Posted on January 6, 2013 at 1:55 AM
very nice - but I have to admit that I don't see colour in music at all. Are you synesthetic? its not uncommon amongst musicians and also composers. [There are some good topics on this on].

So I wonder how I see music? Shapes? Textures? But none of those work - I think the honest answer is I simply don't. Indeed, I think I suppressed music for over 40 years and didn't really respond to it, save for hearing oldies from my child- and teenage years.

Music strikes me as a pure emotion of its own, it modulates my behaviour, almost as if I was a puppet on its strings....

Which causes me to ask if colour is the dominant way you respond to music?

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on January 6, 2013 at 4:22 AM
Wow, simply beautiful poem... and so true.

I choose my musical idols on that critera. I'm not interested in perfect technique that serves nothing, I'm interested in interesting artistery, something that sounds meaningful and full of beauty.

From james holmes
Posted on January 7, 2013 at 10:07 AM
Colors are as expressive as the music that we play. Playing with color and changing it's hue and saturation can alter our moods much like changing our bowing, dynamics and count of a song.

I too think artists and musicians can be one in the same. One is mixing color with a brush while the latter is painting the notes with it's bow. Corny I know ;)

From Cheyne Winterthieme
Posted on January 7, 2013 at 2:23 PM
Elise, Pretend that you were blind - you can't see the colors. We say that someone who can handle descriptive words well can 'paint' a picture with their words. It is the same with making music, you can't see the colors, but you can hear them. Colors can represent emotions; so do dynamics, ritardandos, etc. That is why we use the word 'color'. Does that help?
From Charlie Gibbs
Posted on January 8, 2013 at 1:02 AM
Interesting posting. I don't normally think of colours myself (although F is definitely green). But there's some sort of abstraction in my mind which I can't really describe, which is quite real to me.

When I started fingerpicking guitar, I described it as "dropping notes into a pool of silence".

From Cheyne Winterthieme
Posted on January 8, 2013 at 1:43 AM
Charlie: I like that, "dropping notes into a pool of silence"!
From elise stanley
Posted on January 8, 2013 at 3:11 AM
Cheyne: I'd like to think so but it just does not jibe - I guess I'm music-colour-blind!

Now shapes - I can describe any music in shape and texture! The same is actually true of my vision, I'm not very colour driven but profoundly shape sensitive.

From Royce Faina
Posted on January 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM
I really appreciate this blog! Listening to the guitarist of the Canadian band RUSH introduced me to colors & textures in music (most prog-rock bands I guess) and as for classical/avant-garde Jenifer Higdon who spent a year here at our university as resident composer really expounded/expanded my appreciation of this subject! Wonderful poem by the way!

Elise, here are some links that may help?


Color (Timbre):

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