How To Convert Your Favorite Song Into a Color Palette

How To Convert Your Favorite Song Into a Color Palette

Gregory Han
Nov 6, 2013
(Image credit: Dutch Boy)

Have you ever closed your eyes and imagined which colors of the spectrum would visually represent your favorite songs? And would you consider painting a room using those colors? I imagine Vivaldi's Concerto for Cello in G exploding in a blur of greens and yellows, the Cocteau Twins' Heaven or Las Vegas an ethereal dripping-swirl of deep reds and purples, Pete Rock & C. L. Smooth's be-bop from the bottom to the top, They Reminisce Over You, desaturated with a tint of indigo throughout. Now there's an app which will do all the imagining for you, automatically converting songs into color values you can take from the screen right onto your home's walls.

Here's a quick demo using Paintlist using a couple of my favorite standbys.

The Paintlist app by Dutch Boy, available for both Android and iOS, analyzes any song and creates a custom color palette using either an existing stored playlist or using the microphone (which could lead to some interesting experiments of color based upon the voices of friends and family). No surprise, the apps conveniently offers colors available from Dutch Boy's line of home interior paints, but one could easily convert the values to any brand anywhere color matching is available.

And then there's Ambify, an iOS app which literally paints a room in color using music as its palette when connected to the Philips HuePhilips Hue, an adjustable color and brightness LED lighting system. The effects can be dramatic, if not slightly night clubbish, depending on what you cue up from your playlist.

An earlier precursor to the Paintlist app's music to paint feature, Goldfish Music Box by db-db-db is an iOS app which is more conceptual, and reverses the conversion process by converting sampled colors using the an iOS device camera in realtime. Moving the camera around toward any image or real world space, the app plays back a jingle-jangle of user color-to-sound matched sounds. Watch it in action hereWatch it in action here.

Artist Yuri Suzuki's Colour Chaser for the Mudam's Publics Department museum reverses the process, converting color into music in the playful form of a toy music player which rides along lines while chiming according to colors drawn.

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