Development of a Colour Within a Scale

Definition of the Three Basic Colours

3 main functions in music are comparable with the three basic colours:

Major defined as 1 +3 +7 = Yellow
`Dominant´ defined as 1 +3 - 7 = Red
Minor mainly defined as 1 - 3 - 7 = Blue


Yellow expresses itself through the major third +3 and the major seventh +7; the major third creates an openness and is supported by the leading tonality of the major seventh as a shining from inside-to-outside. This has been called `eccentric´.
The simple ionic scale (see below) presents Yellow in an optimal saturation and within the appropriate degree of light. So:

Interval Tonal Example
8 G
+ 7 F#
6 E
5 D = Primary Yellow
4 C
+ 3 B
+ 2 A
1 G

As the symbol for Yellow the square is chosen, resulting in: 4 or just:


Red expresses itself through the major third +3 and the minor seventh -7, here the +3 creates an openness, it does not aspire a dissolution through the leading tonality . By the -7 it gains more strength and colour intensity and stability as a `being-settled-within-itself´. The mixolydian scale presents Red in the optimal saturation as primary colour and declares to be the middle degree of light.

Interval Ton. Example
8 D
- 7 C
+ 6 B
5 A = Primary Red
4 G
+ 3 F#
2 E
1 D

As symbol for Red (+3, -7 ) the geometrical equivalent the circle is chosen, resulting in: O-7 or just: O


Blue in its basic concentric character of -3 and -7 creates as harmonic effect a `turning-towards-inside´ or `turning-towards-the-inner-space´ and unfolds in many ways.
The aeolic scale presents Blue in the optimal saturation as primary colour within the appropriate degree of light.

Interval Ton. Example
7 E
- 7 D
- 6 C
5 B = Primary - Blue
4 A
- 3 G
2 F#
1 E

As symbol for Blue (-3, -7) the Triangle Δ is chosen.

The further Modulations of the `Church Tone Modes´

Dorian 1 +2 -3 4 5 +6 -7

In comparison to the Aeolic Blue, the +6 brings in a further luminosity and vitality, so that it can be defined generally as Light Blue

Phrygian 1 -2 -3 4 5 -6 -7

In comparison to the Aeolic Blue, the -2 emphasis more the concentric character of Blue, moving towards a darker degree of light, so that it is defined as Dark Blue

Locrian 1 -2 -3 4 -5 -6 -7

In comparison to the Phrygian Blue, the Locrian scale also offers the triton -5. The Triton with its crucial energy brings the colour `to the edge ,the darkest definable degree of light- in a similar way the -5/+4 is a strengthener of Red towards Orange (one will see later)-it overcomes the blue concentric with the character, as the character of Red, so that in simultaneousness it is defined as Violet.

Lydian 1 2 +3 +4 5 6 +7

In comparison to the similar ionic major scale, Yellow, also here the Triton +4 increases the luminous expressive character of the colour, so that it is defined as Lighter Yellow.

Degrees of Light

Retroactive if the scales and colours as modulation are ordered by 4th-tone steps as a circle, like in a circle, like in a circle one can see this emerging order as degrees of light and their value and character as colour.

That means the fourth is a definer of degrees of light.

Example: Beginning from downward
4th step downwards 4th step upwards
symbol ton.expl. colour
Δ - 5 B Violet + 4 F Light Yellow
Δ - 6 E Dark Blue C Yellow
Δ - 6 A Middle Blue O G Red
Δ + 6 D Light Blue Δ + 6 D Light Blue
O G Red Δ - 6 A Middle Blue
C Yellow Δ - 6-2 E Dark Blue
+ 4 F Light Yellow Δ - 5 B Violet

The Triton and Structural Complimentary

As seen through colours in the basic vertical modulation the crucial energy of the tritone becomes evident.
Now used on the basic tone 1, the triton builds the two scales +4 and Δ -5, which are the source of a structural polarity and express it to be complementary in being the basically lightest colour Yellow and darkest basically colour Violet at the same time.
This supports the objectiveness of this approach.

Integrating Further Colours

Further Colours

Further colours constitute as mélange of effects of two or three basic colors / scales and as an enrichment of tritons.


If Red is increased from O to a lighter Red O+4 (1 2 +3 4 +4 6 -7) the further step could be 1 2 +3 +4 +5 6 -7 with 2 halftone steps, within the context of the effect of the color; this is questionable and does not explain the one-pointed brightness of orange. Instead it appears to be most appropriate to use the whole tone scale (6 tone scale) to present its luminous character. This is supported by the strength of 3 following tritons as a scale,.not giving up the meaning of -7.

Orange: 1 2 +3 +4 -7 -6 -7


Green is a mélange of Yellow and Blue. In this case it means a scale that includes a -3 and a +7, the whole tone-halftone scale offers the effects of these colours simultaneously in 8 tones:

Basic Green: 1 2 -3 4 -5 -6 +6 +7


Within its twofold modulation, the 8 tone scale is changing from whole tone- halftone as Green to halftone-whole tone as an alternating scale with a minor 7 and a minor 2 which darkens the character and is valued as a dark Brown accordingly.

Brown: 1 -2 -3 +3 +4 5 +6 -7