Dan Vlahos

The Color Piano Project

Undergraduate Thesis, 2000

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The Color Piano Project was developed as part of my undergraduate graphic design thesis project at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The project culminated with a research paper, the composition of original music and a series of sample visualizations and diagrams used to demonstrate the concept of applying the common color spectrum and color systems (RGB and CMYK) to musical notes. The technique employed tints (for higher notes) and shades (for lower notes) to musical octaves and motion/height for the dynamics (volume and duration).

The final paper explored the history and evolution of visual music, color organs, synesthesia, music theory and color theory. In 2010 the project was leveraged in the design and development of a web-based interactive application created and maintained by Michael Deal.

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Color Piano Project