Painting with Sound

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Andres Segovia once described his guitar as a small orchestra, every string a different color. When the trumpeter Ruby Braff first heard Louis Armstong play “Sleepytime Down South,” he said “the room turned orange.” Duke Ellington described music in terms of images, pictures, and scenes.

Musical styles have long been associated with color. Some musicians, though, associate specific pieces of art with sound. When jazz pianist Dan Knight performs live, he wants his audience to see as well as hear his composition, so he starts with a description of a work of art, like Matisse’s “Blue Interior,” Jackson Pollack’s “Portrait of H.M,” or Joan Miro’s “A Drop of Dew Falling from the Wing of a Bird Awakens Rosalie Asleep in the Shade of a Cobweb.”

And then he plays it as he sees it& The Key of D is yellow, the Key of C white, the key of G blue. Can you see it when you hear it? Can you hear it when you see it?
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Dan Knight, jazz musician.