Colour, Music and Cross-sensory Perception

  • Shekhar BhattacharjeeEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 135)


This is about a course in visual design named elements of colour, which has been taken by a group of faculty members of NID including me. The course is for B.Des. Foundation, and quite a few of years, it has been developed in a certain manner. It was discussed that for visual sensory perception, along with visual senses, another sensory perception is important, like touch is important for 3D visualization. For the perception of colour, the role of other sensory perceptions was discussed. It was found that sound and colour have connection in visual art in Indian and western art tradition for long. Artist of western tradition took inspiration from music and painted, and Indian Ragamala paintings were painted based on Indian classical music. To see how music and colour work, a workshop was conducted among student attending colour course. Four to six ragas were taken for three workshops conducted at different points of time. Approximately, 200 students participated in the first two workshops, and 15 students participated in the last workshop. There were a group of faculty members with me, who were also conducting the course. Each raga was played vocally as performance, and students were asked to paint their feelings immediately along with the raga, rendering through colour. The expressions were expected to be non-pictorial and non-representational (should be abstract). One by one, six ragas were performed by vocalist and students expressed their feelings on paper. After the performance, student’s work was displayed while the name of the ragas was not revealed. So students did not know the name of the raga. Student’s work had been put up under titles like Raga-1, Raga-2 up to six and had been exhibited. It is found that the colour palette of the student’s expression has similarity with the colour palette of the miniature painting created on the same raga in Indian miniature tradition, and also, colour palette matches with the mood, expression, time and season of the raga described in Indian classical music text. This is a small pilot study, based on which more workshops will be conducted in order to investigate the phenomenon elaborately.


Colour and music Visual image making Cross-sensory perception 



I would like to thank my colleagues—Ms. Swasti Singh Ghai (Discipline Lead, Textile Design, NID), Ms. Choula Patel (Graphics Designer, Former Coordinator, NID Foundation Programme), Mr. Suresh Imanual (Senior faculty, Former Chairperson, NID Foundation Programme), Students of 2014, 2015, 2016 Foundation Batch and 2017 batch Toy & Game Design and Dr. Aakash Johri and Austin Devis, Toy & Game Design faculty.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of DesignAhmedabadIndia

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