In my last blog I discussed the idea of coloring your music to represent the different types of tone colors that you wish to convey in performance. Color may be also used as a practice tool to differentiate the changing nature of aspects such as dynamics, tempo changes, articulation and so on. For the visual learners out there, connecting colors to changes in the music trains your brain to anticipate without necessary looking ahead. For example, if you can see a large green circle in your periphery, your brain, your air, and your fingers will prepare to go faster, be louder, etc. and will therefore leave nothing to chance. Of course if you would rather leave everything to chance than you can just toss the idea down the toilet. However, if your intention is to follow the composer’s original guidelines, using color is an excellent organizational tool!
The following is an example from my own orchestra music wherein I use color to highlight changes in dynamics, articulation, tempo changes, cues,
In this example all dynamics (including crescendos and decrescendos) are highlighted in green, cues are highlighted in purple, accents in yellow, articulation in orange and tempo changes in blue.
This system has helped me immensely in my own practice and has been particularly useful in larger works where the conductor has been trained to listen closely for all of these nuances. I dare you to color music! You will notice an immediate change, particularly if you are a visual learner, in the variety of your sound, the intricacies of your articulation and the way tempo changes occur organically.
Do you already color your music? What do your colors mean? How has these system helped you? Please leave comments below!