Spectrum Showcase: “Colours” by Amanda Witt


In this edition of Spectrum Showcase, we have an exploration of visual processing, with a piece of music “translated” into words and imagery by poet Amanda Witt. Many people on the spectrum have very visual imaginations, which can offer a fresh perspective on things that might not usually be thought of in visual terms. Enjoy!

Picture of Amanda Witt

I wanted to hear how ‘Colours’ would sound,
What tones and qualities the composer had found,
What he’d imagined for each one,
Amber is yellow, like the sun,
Jade is green, quite refined,
As through forests it does wind.
Blue sapphire sounds like waters deep,
That’s an image I want to keep,
Mauve showed a picture of mountains pink,
Such a nice scene, I do think
For Ivy of course, we know the plant
That spreads the size of an elephant
Burgundy red – the colour of love,
That fits nicely like a glove.
And burgundy is a label of wine,
An accompaniment for when we dine.

Amanda: “I wrote this poem while listening to a musical piece called ‘Colours’, by composer Roger Cichy, written in 1997.

The music of each movement is not based so much on the outward appearance of its colour, but rather the pigments that are combined to produce the particular colour. Taken one step further, the colour of each pigment is translated into its symbolic meaning which is then represented through the music (e.g. green: warm, organic, middling qualities, immortality, and neutrality).
The musical “pigments” are blended into the composition of each movement to create the impression of the colour. Therefore, the work represents the association of colour symbolism as interpreted through music as opposed to “orchestra colours” or timbres. Obviously the whole matter of colour symbolism is highly subjective. It should also be stated that colour symbolism can differ among cultures as well.”


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