The color of music

May 5, 2020
 by Paul McGowan

I often think of music in shades and hues: a light amber sheen from the delicate bowings of a string section, the fat gold honeypot of the double bases, the trombone’s bright blaring blat, the reed’s cold blue honk, or the unwanted glare of a misaligned phono cartridge. These are not just sounds, but complex gatherings of frequencies that evoke colors, emotions, and images.

What I so love about having at the touch of a button or the drop of a needle, music from the masters, is this wealth of imagery. When I watch film or television I am led by the nose where the director and cinematographer wish to take me. No room for added senses and emotions.

But music…. Music in my home evokes far more than almost any other form of emotional stimulation I can think of. And the better my stereo system, the more I get out of the experience, a rarity indeed. I don’t enjoy art more with cleaner glasses, nor do I delve deeper into the story with a finer copy of a book. But the better reproduced music is, the closer I can get to that wealth of emotional stimulation.

If your stereo system isn’t enhancing the color of music, perhaps you’re missing out.

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