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Working on a new body of work based on the secondary and tertiary colors in color theory (working title Seconds and Thirds), I had a spontaneous thought those colors seemed to correspond to thirds and fifths in music.

I mentioned this to a new Facebook friend who asked about my practice and who, synchronistically, works with color and sound. He recommended a book to me, Interference: A Grand Scientific Musical Theory. I have worked some with interference media and am fascinated by interference in waveforms and cymatics, so I was intrigued. Also synchronistically another friend is working with fluid dynamics which as far as I know, and I don’t know much, is related to chaos theory. Everything came together in my mind in an ‘ah-ha’ moment where I saw the connections in all these, and then, of course, immediately lost it. Color harmony, musical harmony, symmetry in chaos…

I began reading Interference this morning. Besides rekindling memories of studying piano and the point at which the patterns my hands made on the keyboard were beginning to make sense, this is what struck me:

The Pythagoreans were searching for a unified theory of everything, just like some physicists today. What is the underlying harmony behind the veil of our senses which unites all phenomena? So they, the Pythagoreans that is, came up with the idea of stacking musical fifths, believing that “a stack of five perfects 5ths’ should close to form a pentagram at the third octave.” This is based on their association of the geometry of sound with certain regular shapes, in this case the pentagram, an important form in sacred geometry. Well, it didn’t work. Turns out there’s a gap. The circle is not closed, but is an infinite spiral, like the famous Nautilus. And so it’s my guess, at this point in my reading, that the gap is equal to the phi ratio.

Somehow in my mind this is all related to mixing colors. Stay tuned.