On the Importance of Correspondence Between Shapes and Timbre
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The results of a preliminary study of the audio-visual correspondence between musical timbre and visual shapes are reported. 22 participants had to play 20 musical sounds and choose a shape for each. An association between timbre and visual shapes emerged. Soft timbres seem to match with rounded shapes, harsh timbres with sharp angular shapes and timbres having elements of softness and harshness together with a mixture of the two previous shapes. The correspondence between timbres and shapes should lend itself to the development of perceptually supported musical interfaces and substitution systems. A larger scale experiment with more sounds and participants is underway and confirms the preliminary results reported in this paper.