PolyChromatic Music and Pitch Color

A site dedicated to providing online instruction and information about the sonic frontier of PolyChromatic Music.

What is PolyChromatic Music?

The PolyChromatic system expands the expressive potential of our chromatic system by using an intuitive, pitchcolor concept to notate, practice and create music with any micro-pitch scale method. The pitch-color spectrum ordering (r,o,y,g,b,i,v) remains consistent while the pitch frequencies (in hertz) are flexibly defined by each type of scale. This eliminates the need to learn new symbols and terminology for each microtonal scale.

The pitchcolor concept is similar to rhythm notation in that note values (i.e. quarter note) remain consistent (half note = 2 quarter notes), while their durations (in seconds) are defined by the tempo. The exploring musician no longer needs to learn a new monochromatic language for each micro-pitch scale. Rather, the focus can be directed toward learning the unique pitchcolor associations within each scale method (ET, EDO, MOS, JI, etc). And in the process, we begin to create integrated synesthetic associations between gradations of the pitch continuum and that of the color continuum.

The idea of ‘absolute’ pitch is replaced by a dynamic concept of pitchcolor which is defined by and relative to any tuning method. Endless variations can exist within a unifying system. And this permits the use of multiple scales simultaneously.

Each chromatic note can range from increasing flatward to sharpward gradations which are expressed in pitch-color gradations, in series, from (infra)red to (ultra)violet. The simplicity of the polychromatic system and its pitch-color concept brings new ease and freedom in exploring the infinite worlds of micro-pitch music. PolyChromatic music also introduces an intuitive way for musicians and listeners to further refine auditory awareness and discrimination of the ‘notes between the notes’.

An introduction to PolyChromatic Music and a demonstration of some innovative electronic music controllers. 2015

An overview of PolyChromatic Music with a performance on the Tonal Plexus keyboard at TEDxSacramento. 2016


PolyChromatic Music

An intuitive and unifying framework for working with micropitch scales.

PolyChromatic System

The 'pitchcolor' concept and associative synesthesia.

PolyChromatic Applications

Practical ideas for using the polychromatic system.

PolyChromatic Implications

Creativity and imagination distinguish us from Artificial Intelligence.