An interactive website that combines sound, colours and patterns
By Abdullah Al-wali on October 25th 2014
The symbiotic relationship between colour and sound is a long studied subject that travels back as far as Sir Isaac Newton's publication, Optiks from 1704, which includes his Colour Wheel theory. Post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh even took piano lessons in order to better understand the nature of colour. The composer Alexander Scriabin was also fascinated by the synesthetic bond between colours and musical notes and went on to invent the original ‘clavier à lumières’ (keyboard with lights) in 1915 for his orchestral work, Prometheus: The Poem of Fire. His remarkable instrument was an organ to be played like a normal keyboard, but instead of producing sound it would project coloured light.
Today this curiosity between sound and colour continues and we have digitised creations like Patatap, an interactive website that combines sound, colours and patterns to let you compose your own music whilst triggering unique animations for every musical note, giving a visual feedback. The sound pallette varies from percussive drums to woozey synths and trinkly bells. The project was developed by Jono Brandel and musical duo Lullatone and it caught our attention with its simplicity and instant playability.
"The motivation behind Patatap is to introduce the medium of Visual Music to a broad audience. Artists working in this field vary in discipline but many aim to express the broader condition of Synesthesia, in which stimulation of one sensory input leads to automatic experiences in another. Hearing smells or seeing sounds are examples of possible synesthesia. In the case of Patatap, sounds trigger colorful visual animations."
Using Patatap is easy, first visit the website (unfortunately it's only available through a Google Chrome browser), then simply press any key between a-z on your keyboard to trigger the sounds and visuals. To explore new sounds and colours just press the spacebar. The background will then change colour to signify a new pallette. There are six different palletes in total giving you plenty to explore. Kids will also love this for its playful nature.
You can also play it right here: