By Joshua Madara on January 5, 2011 | Categories: Blog, Portfolio | Tags: , , | No Comments

This is a Processing sketch that returns colors and sounds corresponding to the astrological signs of the zodiac, in a fairly direct (and probably underwhelming) way. I have some ideas for developing more creative interactions, but for here and now I am documenting the correspondences and some simple code to interact with them.


Click the image to run the sketch in your browser (requires Java and JavaScript), or follow this link if that one is giving you trouble. You can view the source code here.

Below is a table of the correspondences I used and took from Case‘s Correlation of Sound and Color [1], which as far as I know he inherited from the Golden Dawn and the King Scale of Color.

Index Sign Color Dec Hex Sound Freq
1 Aries Red 255,0,0 FF0000 C 261.63
2 Taurus Red-Orange 255,64,0 FF4000 C# 277.18
3 Gemini Orange 255,128,0 FF8000 D 293.66
4 Cancer Orange-Yellow 255,192,0 FFC000 D# 311.13
5 Leo Yellow 255,255,0 FFFF00 E 329.63
6 Virgo Yellow-Green 128,192,0 80C000 F 349.23
7 Libra Green 0,128,0 008000 F# 369.99
8 Scorpio Green-Blue 0,128,128 008080 G 392
9 Sagittarius Blue 0,0,255 0000FF G# 415.30
10 Capricorn Blue-Violet 64,0,192 4000C0 A 440
11 Aquarius Violet 128,0,128 800080 A# 466.16
12 Pisces Violet-Red 192,0,64 C00040 B 493.88

The Colors

(The capitalized color names in the following paragraph refer to HTML color names. The mixes I made with this HTML color mixer.)

I had some options while mapping Case’s colors which were based on the RYB (subtractive) color model, to the RGB (additive) color space. I chose Green (008000) instead for Lime (00FF00) for green, and the middle of Red (FF0000) mixed with Blue (0000FF) for violet (= 800080, i.e. Purple), instead of Magenta (FF00FF). I could have used Aqua (00FFFF) for green-blue, or mixed Blue (0000FF) with the darker Green (008000) (= 004080), but instead chose the middle of Blue (0000FF) mixed with Lime (00FF00) to make my green-blue (008080). To make orange (FF4000), I used the middle of Red (FF0000) and Yellow (FFFF00).

If you have any ideas about the color correspondences in RGB/CYM space, please leave a comment below.

The Sounds

The sounds are generated by a monotone sine wave. I got the frequencies for the musical notes from this page.

Notes & References

  1. Paul Foster Case, Correlation of Sound and Color (Boston: The Hestia Publishing Co., 1931).

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To the degree that education is about the transfer of the known between generations, it can be digitized, analyzed, optimized and bottled or posted on Twitter. To the degree that education is about the self-invention of the human race, the gargantuan process of steering billions of brains into unforeseeable states and configurations in the future, it can continue only if each brain learns to invent itself. And that is beyond computation because it is beyond our comprehension. Learning at its truest is a leap into the unknown. » Jaron Lanier, Does the Digital Classroom Enfeeble the Mind?