Visual Elements in Music

4 The Precursors of Color-Light Music

Roughly at the same time as Scriabin, Arnold Schönberg was also on a quest for new means of artistic expression. In his one-act opera Die glückliche Hand (1910–1913), he wanted to make music not only with sounds, but also with color and light, lending a further important example of an unconventional combination of auditory and visual elements.[9] Both composers led the way for the development of color-light music as a new art form, the history of which culminated in the 1920s and early 1930s, accompanied by a multitude of color-light musical experiments, performances, and the design of various color pianos and organs. However, this controversial art form remained unsuccessful in the end and, with the beginning of World War II, sank into oblivion. The idea of a synthesis of optical and acoustic phenomena, however, has lived on and has continued to inspire composers until today.


Timelines:1910 – 1950