D.D. Jameson - Colour Music (1844)

D.D. Jameson devised a systematic approach to create a colour music score for a specially adapted piano. His scores took the information from a piano music score and applied it to a sound-music colour scheme and translated it into a colour score. The colour score communicated the musical information - such as notes, rhythm, durations. His score was to link to a special adaptation of a piano music instrument that would have the keys prepared with the relevant colours. The musician could then play the piano by following the colour music score.

 Not only were the piano keys to be coloured according to his colour to tone analogy system but the score was to also communicate other aspects of the musicianship such as: the intervals of the music, the notes and their octaves, by mapping the height of the colour to the octave of the note and the width of the colour to the duration of the note.

"A pianoforte having been prepared in the manner described, any air may be slowly played. As each note is struck, its equivalent in Colour – Key, Height – Octave, Length – Time should be placed in a series on a white paper. This will be found to be of more or less pleasing character, according to the varied character of the music” (Jameson, 1844, 15)

PDF of Colour Music pamphlet is online at the following web locations: