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Faculty Sponsor

Professor James Gabbard


Department of Visual Communication & Design

Sponsor Department/Program

Department of Visual Communication & Design


My project was created as a means to assist in the learning and understanding of reading music. The problems with learning to read standard music notation is that it involves different areas of the brain to work at the same time. Music reading activates the motor, visual, auditory areas in both hemispheres of the brain, along with the cerebellum. To deal with the problem, I have created a unique way of learning music that is designed to eliminate the dullness from standard music reading and inspire, inform, and motivate people to experience music in a completely different way. My business idea, ChromaClef is a beginner’s education program that teaches users how to read sheet music in a non-traditional way that is easy and exciting for everyone, no matter the musical background. ChromaClef combines color and music together in an aim to improve musical memory and understanding, proven by a process called synesthesia. Synesthesia is an unusual blending of senses in which the stimulation of one modality simultaneously produces sensation in a different modality. In this case, every note (or letter) is associated with a different color. This is called Grapheme-color synesthesia. Those with this form of synesthesia have enhanced visual memory for stimuli. Why? Some researchers believe it is due to a cross-wiring in the brain where a number or letter stimulates an area of your visual cortex that simultaneously responds to color stimuli. Not only does this color-to-music combination work because it enhances memory and comprehension, but it stands apart from every music-learning method because of its anomalous way of doing so. This non-traditional way of self-teaching allows users to learn on their own time and at their own pace.