MUSIC:: Shapes of Sound: Case Study and Analysis

Interestingly enough, you might find your average music student unknowledgeable on the ways that which shapes and colors relate to musical sounds. This is due impart to several reasons. One, our musical educational systems have turned the pendulum from artistic-intellectual to mainly intellectual. Meaning: that methods for which we have chosen to teach children music have resulted in an amplification of intellectual properties. Two, we have forgotten that they are children. For some of use this is not true, but to some extent we are viewing the knowledge we are to share from the top of our degrees and and educational background. In this we forget, sometimes, that the student is ignorant of the information we encompass. Finally third, we seem to have a lack in resolve when it comes to participating translucently in dealings with each individual student. For it is complet hearsay to imply that we all think “this student is not that same as the one I just taught.”. For on average I would say we only approach this idea 1 out of every 8 students. This, in turn is not fair to the students themselves. For I am not wanting you to think that I am voicing a personal opinion of brash merit. Rather, these statements are those of accountability, with hopes of illuminating dull points.

In a recent study with a four violin students of mine I experimented, yet again, with the association possibility of shapes and colors in relationship to sounds and composition. Below I have listed one my studies with findings and conclusion:

Subject Initials: M.B.

Gender: Female

Age: 8 Years of Age

Ability Level: Beginner

Performance Duration: Two Years

Placebo Controlled: Yes/No Knowledge of Study Conduction

Date: 1/25/2012

Legend: t=task


  • The subject listed above was given a set of two independent tasks; (t1.0) to draw and color shapes of any merit of his/her own direct composition. During this process the subject was not privy to any help by the instructor or parent in regards to creativity, intellectual properties, or free flowing of conscienceless.
  • After task 1.0 completed, the subject was to listen to a grouping of note, individually. (t1.5)After the listening, the subject was asked to associate the sounds heard with the colored shapes that were previously composed.
  • After t1.5 was completed, the subject was asked (t2.0)to make an assortment of shapes regardless of the naming of notes that where name associated with the shapes. Meaning: Sort the shapes by who you see them, not to choose by the implied sound that was now listed next to the shape.
  • After t2.0 was completed, the subject musically preformed the notes that were placed next to the colored shapes previously composed by the subject in succession with the previously composed selection from t2.0.

Concluding the exercise and performance of the series of tasks, I found that regardless of shape/color composition – the musical notes that were produced via the association of notes with the shapes/colors produced a solidly tonal musical composition from the subject.


  1. The subjects willingness to continue musical composition via shapes and colors.
  2. The admission by the subject of a new way of looking at music.
  3. A successful tonal composition through shapes and colors.
  4. A successful tonal composition, with two sections, by someone with a small amount of musical theory knowledge.
  5. The disassociation by the subject of pure intellectual association with musical knowledge via the implementing of shapes and colors.
By: Thomas McGregor, C.V.I.

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