43. The Tree of the Music System
The selection of colors when it comes to education is just as important as those of the interior of your home. No – it's even more important!
If color doesn't act as a support for the perception, then is becomes an obstacle. Either it helps, or it gets in the way. This means that the selection of guiding colors should be based on something specific. For example, what is the best way to highlight the contrast between lines and spaces? Guido of Arezzo first used the fingers of his hands as a ''Grand Staff'.'' This is where the idea for current music notation came from. Subconsciously, we perceive the lines as solid 'flesh' and the space in between them as 'air.' The choice of colors should preserve these associations rather than conflicting with them. As I have already explained, it is natural to make the notes on the lines red, and the notes between them blue. These two colors aren't just contrasting on the color spectrum. They answer well to associations, subconsciously hold up the origin of their ideas, and, just as importantly, don't tire the eyes.
Later, picking out the colors for the treble and bass clefs, I had to figure out something else. The tones of music gradually get higher. Here, a sharp color contrast might confuse the viewer and convey false associations. I needed the type of example from one's experience where the different colors were a continuation of a whole. The ideal image is that of a tree. The trunk and the earth are brown, and the crown is green.
An analogy of a tree is a great color guide for the music staff. A tree calls forth both the unity of the music system as a whole, and the essence of the positioning of sounds in registers. The 'roots' belong to the bass register, and gradually grow into the crown – the high register. The sounds of the lower register are written on supplementary lines – these are the 'roots' of the tree. The middle register is 'solid,' deep, and rich in the presence of overtones. This is the 'trunk'. Gradually, the middle register becomes more and more 'airy,' in the 'branches and leaves.' At last it grows into the highest register, lower only than the 'birds,' the additional lines at the top.