Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Key of GreenPassion and Perception in Renaissance Culture$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Bruce R. Smith

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226763781

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226763811.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Listening for Green

Listening for Green

Chapter:
(p.168) Chapter Five Listening for Green
Source:
The Key of Green
Author(s):

Bruce R. Smith

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226763811.003.0006

William Shakespeare and John Fletcher's The Two Noble Kinsmen provides an instance of hearing color. Even Sir Isaac Newton was convinced that colors could be heard—or at least that color perception worked like hearing—when in 1675 he explained that colors, like sounds, result from vibrations. An association of color with sound goes back to the very beginnings of Western culture. It is, in fact, Aristotle who is Newton's primary inspiration for the idea that sound and color both result from mathematically mappable ratios. Thus, to listen for green would mean to listen for the totality of sound, for all there is to hear. This chapter considers some famous instances in which writers say they can hear colors and examines the acoustic equivalents of antic work and grotesquerie in the form of sounds that spin away from logocentric exactitude. Varying musical settings of Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd...he maketh me to lie down in green pastures”) figure in a survey of changing ideas about the relationship between words and music.

Keywords:   color, green, sound, Psalm 23, music, words, Isaac Newton

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.