Classes of Colors and Timbres: A Clustering Approach


Similarities between different sensory dimensions can be addressed considering common ``movements'' as causes, and emotional responses as effects. An imaginary movement toward the ``dark'' produces ``dark sounds'' and ``dark colors,'' or, toward the ``bright,'' ``brighter colors'' and ``brighter sounds.''Following this line of research, we draw upon the confluence of mathematics and cognition, extending to colors and timbres the gestural similarity conjecture, a development of the mathematical theory of musical gestures.Visual ``gestures'' are seen here as paths in the space of colors, compared with paths in the space of orchestral timbres.We present an approach based on clustering algorithm to evaluate the association between color bands and orchestral timbres.The analysis is based on 8 indicators which represent and describe participants' background and associations to be tested.  The indicators include socio-demographic information and color class options from the color space, to associate with each given timbre class.We clustered responders into homogeneous groups where the within-group-object dissimilarity is minimized and the between-group-object dissimilarity is maximized. The partitions are obtained with k-modes. While participants' background does have an influence in their answers, the overall behaviors confirms the existence of different space regions for different timbres, supporting our hypothesis of perceived similarities similarities between color and timbre classes. In fact, the cluster analysis confirms identifiable blocks.Our pioneering study on a small dataset may open the way toward a future and deeper comprehension of complex color-timbre perceived connections.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20705948v15n3p588

Keywords: crossmodal perception; similarity; timbre; color; clusters


References can be found in the manuscript.

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