At the beginning the idea of multi-media arised as an idea of "translation" (transformation) of one "media" into another. We mean here the color-music projects of 18 century. The first theories of the music-light "translation" were connected with the search of natural analogies between sound and colour, regarded as physical phenomena. (It is similar to that as music science in Ancient times and Middle Ages searched for the foundations of musical laws in cosmos, outside the human psychic, and considered harmony as "ontological category".)

These "translation" ideas, in their historical and logical aspects, are closely connected with the Ancient cosmological teaching of "music of spheres". It is distinctive feature of any natural philosophy constructions, that they lack experimental proofs, and replace them by speculative fantasies, usually descending from the postulate of "Universe perfection". (Let's notice, that the degree of perfection was evaluated using aesthetic criteria). As it is known, Pythagoreans had discovered quantitative relations inside musical scale (regarded now as the first physical law in European science which was expressed numerically). On the assumption that it is the sole and universal law, the proportions of the musical scale was then transfered onto another areas, to explain the rest of the world phenomena. According this conception, the structure of Cosmos is determined by "harmonical" scale, and the planets, while running their orbits, produce "music of spheres". The same law supposedly determines proportions of human body, architectural rules (Vitruvius), and even the structure of sensor perceptions (Aristotle, Augustin). The "music of spheres" conception appeared not by chance, it was natural produce of "humanity childhood". (This is confirmed by the independent arising of the similar "musical cosmology" in the Ancient East). It combined the rational principles with the utter "numerical mystics". Due to canonization of Aristotle, who interpreted Pythagoreans in details, this teaching penetrated into philosophy of the next epochs, up to Renascence and New Age. For example, famous astronomer I.Kepler, following principle "analogies are the best teachers", had undertaken one more attempt to write down the concrete "music of spheres" score (of course, in heliocentric variant now). I.Newton, having created his theory of gravity based on Kepler's work, was possesed by its main idea of Divine Predestination of musical order in the Universe. Therefore, when he studied light spectrum, he found it possible to confront sines of refraction angles of seven colors with the ratios of seven tones in octave. Although Newton was the first who noticed this sound to color analogy, he did not supposed to create new art on this basis. Such idea was put forward by L.B.Castel (1688-1757), who combined Newton's "discovery" with former rhetorical reflections by A.Kirher on whether is it possible to see music. The conception of "color music" by Castel is the most obvious case which may illustrate the philosophical culture of that time. Besides the reduction of social phenomenon (art) to natural one, here we see also another metodological shortcomings inherent in mechanistic materializm and natural philosophy. That is, first of all, an unjustified initial assumption that the whole (music) is a simple sum of its parts (tones). The same violence to dialectical laws is then repeated in the area of vision. More than that, the concrete numerical law discovered in the musical area, was then metaphysically extended to the visual one, not taking into account their qualitative differences (in sensor modalities). As Hegel pointed out, the worthless games with idle analogies have caused valid contempt to natural philosophy. As for Castel, he regarded analogies as a "guide" in the search of truth, and used them in his theory of color music.

Castel intended his "color music" only for "phylosophical eye", and it had become widely famous in 18-19 centures and appeared to be a peculiar touchstone to sharpen the polemical blades on. This conception was used by many thinkers in their discussions, namely:

The idea of monovariant transformation of audible into visible were revived after Castel in various modifications up to present time. Now it appears in electronic versions. But practice, as the utmost criterium of truth, has proved it's absurdity. It's worth to note that such ideas, in the majority of cases, were proposed by naturalists, not by musicians. So these ideas lacked motivation by aesthetical inquires, and therefore stayed for a long time outside of actual artistic interests.

Thus it is obvious that theories of "music vision", proposed apriory in 17-19 centuries, are non-aesthetic in their content and nature philosophy kind by their origin. They were motivated by the striving to search for metaphysically understood unity and phenomena relationship in the perfect Universe. The same notion of "music vision" had quite different content in the last centuries and nowadays (similarly to the understanding of "substance transformation" in alchemistry and modern nuclear physics). The concrete Castel's project was limited by the technical means available at that time. The modern understanding of "music vision" is better grounded in this respect, and now it can be evaluated by the artistic criteria already.

As we can see, the understanding of "music vision" in its development passed through the same stages as that of music itself. At the beginning their laws were regarded as lying outside of human being, while today the musical art is understood as complex psycho-physiological, social and aesthetic phenomenon. This development can be seen either in ontogenesis and philogenesis - even now such light-musicians who are unaware of the real state in new art theory and practice, used to begin their researches with a search of "objective", "physical" laws of music-to-light translation. Castelian analogies "color scale - music scale" are revived sometimes with a purpose to serve as partial confirmation of Pythagorean kind "universal harmony", defined now by the addition to the planetar "music of spheres" modern data of nuclear physics, genetics, etc.[2]. As analysis shows, such set backs of "music of spheres" are often accompanied with the neglection of elementary rules of mathematics, theory of probability in particular [3].

Some concrete arguments of physical nature for the existence of "objectie" connection between sound and light (acoustic and electromagnetic waves) are also beyond grave criticism. For example, D.Crofts supposed that if the frequency of mechanical oscillations would increase up to the optical range values, than acoustic radiation of vibrator will turn into...light [4]. In a similar way, V.Dasmanov in order to explain the so called "color hearing", put forward a hypothesis that some individuals are able to perceive the superhigh obertones of musical notes as visible light [5]. F.Germer believes that future inventions in pharmacology would allow one to see several color octaves thus providing complete realization of Castel's idea [6]. F.Jur'ev, developing further Castel's analogy "color scale - musical scale", proposed the notion of "color tonality", on which basis regarding as possible silent, unsounding music of color [7].

Thus, the striving to realize music and light synthesis in a form of "visualization of music" reveals mechanistic character of thinking (which is natural at the beginning of any investigation) and metaphysical approach in the evaluation of arts specifics and the purposes of their synthesis.

As modern philosophers shows, the reductionism of any kind (not only mechanicism), being the natural manifestation of striving towards science knowledge unification, at some "threshold" reveals its limited nature. This had happened, for example, in biology, in the course of explaining "living matter" phenomenon. All the more, art shows its principal incompatibility with reductionism. K.Marx is known to appreciate high the Ancient culture ("Greeks were normal children"), but warned at the same time that "man can't turn into child again, not falling into childishness". Just so, new attempts to repeat gravely the naive beauty of the primitive nature philosophy analogies by Pythagoreans and Castel, now in 21 century are unforgivable. We are most of all pleased by the evaluation of Castel's idea, given by some American researcher - "charming nonsense". Any nonsense, being repeated once more, ceases to be charming.


  1. L.-B.Castel. Clavecin pour les yeux... - Mercure de France, November, 1725, p.1885.
  2. V.Delson. The laws of universal harmony. - Sovetskaya musyka, 1969, N 12 [in Russian].
  3. V.Detlovs. Once again on the conception by Marutaev. - Sovetskaya musyka, 1970, N 8 [in Russian].
  4. J.Crofts. Colour-music. - The gentelman's magazine, v.159, July-December, 1885.
  5. V.Dasmanov. Sound and colour. - Muzykalnaya nov', 1924, N 9 [in Russian].
  6. F.Germer. Color and music. - The musical America, Febr.20, 1926.
  7. F.Jur'ev. Music of light. - Kiev: Publ. House "Muzichna Ukraina", 1971 [in Russian].

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