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Translate Hakan Austbo Messiaen Color Catalogue to OM

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I am a OM newbee, so forgive if this already implemented or done before.

I understood from the video linked below, that Austbo did compile the colors percieved by Messiaen in a catalogue.

He used colors to backtransform them into musical dimensions.

I guess this is an obvious usecase for parametric composition, so I am pretty sure someone in the OM community tried this or was inspired by it already.

Wanna share your explorations?




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Dear Cliff, 


Some time ago (round about  22 June 2021), Janusz was developing a chord variation function that was very interesting. I was helping him to adapt it to the drop-voicing function. The drop-voicing function process existent chords while the original Janusz function prototype was more in the generation of chords. 

Let´s see if Janusz chime in here and see if he remember that.


The function was doing something like this (I don´t have the actual code).


The interesting point related to your post goes like the following.


It could be interesting to have a function similar to the function Janusz was doing below and also a function to

 process chords, doing it´s inversions and also normalizing the inversions putting all of the inversions starting in the same note, like the example in the video called:

"chords in the inversions transposed on the same bass note" (more or less at 5´40 of the video).

This can be really useful in the context of Messiaen-like music, especially to generate colorful chords of 5, 6 or 7 notes, to spread it. This full chords are used by Messiaen in orchestrations.


In relation to the colors, if we provide a color for each pitch-class, maybe it´s possible to create a function to generate and calculate an RGB or CMYK code for the chord resultant, like mixing the color of the notes to generate a color code result for pitch classes / chords.



RGB color codes chart, RGB color picker, RGB color table.



All the best !



(chord-drop '(c5 m/maj9)) ;(0 3 7 11 14)
=> (d6b5g5eb5c5 d6g5eb5c5b4 d6b5eb5c5g4 d6eb5c5b4g4 d6eb5c5g4b3
    d6b5g5c5eb4 d6g5c5b4eb4 d6g5c5eb4b3 d6b5c5g4eb4 d6b5c5eb4g3
    d6g5eb5b4c4 d6b5eb5g4c4 d6eb5b4g4c4 d6eb5g4c4b3 d6eb5b4c4g3
    d6g5b4eb4c4 d6g5b4c4eb3 d6eb5g4b3c3) 

(chord-drop '(c5 maj9/s11))
=> (get-count '(fs6d6b5g5e5c5 fs6b5g5e5d5c5 fs6b5g5e5c5d4 fs6d6g5e5c5b4 fs6g5e5d5c5b4
	fs6g5e5c5b4d4 fs6g5e5c5d4b3 fs6d6b5e5c5g4 fs6b5e5d5c5g4 fs6b5e5c5g4d4
	fs6d6e5c5b4g4 fs6d6e5c5g4b3 fs6b5e5c5d4g3 fs6d6b5g5c5e4 fs6b5g5d5c5e4
	fs6b5g5c5e4d4 fs6d6g5c5b4e4 fs6g5d5c5b4e4 fs6g5c5b4e4d4 fs6d6g5c5e4b3
	fs6g5d5c5e4b3 fs6g5c5e4d4b3 fs6d6b5c5g4e4 fs6b5d5c5g4e4 fs6b5c5g4e4d4
	fs6d6b5c5e4g3 fs6b5d5c5e4g3 fs6b5c5e4d4g3 fs6b5g5c5d4e3 fs6g5c5b4d4e3
	fs6g5c5d4b3e3 fs6b5c5g4d4e3 fs6b5c5d4g3e3 fs6d6g5e5b4c4 fs6g5e5d5b4c4
	fs6g5e5b4d4c4 fs6d6b5e5g4c4 fs6b5e5d5g4c4 fs6b5e5g4d4c4 fs6d6e5b4g4c4
	fs6d6e5g4c4b3 fs6d6e5b4c4g3 fs6b5g5d5e4c4 fs6d6g5b4e4c4 fs6g5d5b4e4c4
	fs6g5b4e4d4c4 fs6g5d5e4c4b3 fs6b5d5g4e4c4 fs6b5d5e4c4g3 fs6d6g5b4c4e3
	fs6g5d5b4c4e3 fs6g5b4d4c4e3 fs6b5d5g4c4e3 fs6d6e5g4b3c3 fs6g5d5e4b3c3
	fs6b5d5e4g3c3 fs6g5b4d4e3c3))

(chord-variant '(d4 maj7))
=> (d4fs4a4cs5 d4fs4a4cs4 d4fs4a3cs5 d4fs4a3cs4 d4fs3a4cs5 d4fs3a4cs4 d4fs3a3cs5 d4fs3a3cs4)

(chord-variant '(d4 maj7) :root :top)
=> (d4fs4a4cs5 d4fs4a3cs5 d4fs3a4cs5 d4fs3a3cs5 d3fs4a4cs5 d3fs4a3cs5 d3fs3a4cs5 d3fs3a3cs5)

(chord-variant '(d4 maj7) :transpose -1)
=> (d4fs4a4cs5 d4fs4a4c5 d4fs4gs4cs5 d4fs4gs4c5 d4f4a4cs5 d4f4a4c5 d4f4gs4cs5 d4f4gs4c5)

(chord-variant '(d4 maj7) :transpose -1 :root :top)
=> (d4fs4a4cs5 d4fs4gs4cs5 d4f4a4cs5 d4f4gs4cs5 cs4fs4a4cs5 cs4fs4gs4cs5 cs4f4a4cs5 cs4f4gs4cs5)

(chord-variant '(d4 maj7) :root :top)
=> (d4fs4a4cs5 d4fs4a3cs5 d4fs3a4cs5 d4fs3a3cs5 d3fs4a4cs5 d3fs4a3cs5 d3fs3a4cs5 d3fs3a3cs5)


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Dear @JulioHerrlein thank you for your kind and long response.

You are really deep into OM and leveraging it as a creative tool and I feel that this is a nice community which hopefully some day I may also contribute.


These are helpful pointers to explore further.

I am a beginner, so many things in your code are quite beyond my current skills 🙂


All the Best


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On 1/22/2023 at 7:01 AM, Cliff said:

the colors percieved by Messiaen


Scriabin is another interesting one:




I'm halfway through this book at the moment, and it's pretty good so far:



An accessible, concise primer on the neurological trait of synesthesia—vividly felt sensory couplings—by a founder of the field.One in twenty-three peopl...


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