Free Voices


Wassily Kandinsky, perhaps one of Moscow's most prominent artists, left his mark on the 20th century. His works made quite a splash, yes, but there was an undeniable fact that sounds also brought Kandinsky's works into existence in a way. On top of that, sometimes music sheds light on his thoughts. So much so that Kandinsky, whose synesthesia is said to be quite pronounced, could perceive the senses together. His work “Yellow-Red-Blue No.314” was an example of this.

Yellow-Red-Blue No.314, Wassily Kandinsky (1925)

The colors and forms in this work were the hallmarks of each instrument or key. It was the trumpet sound from the yellow; flutes, cello, and double bass were shades of blue. The red shade, known as vermilion or Chinese red, represented tuba. It was a lively orchestra led by colors and shapes! It is very possible that Kandinsky's musical background and developed musical understanding were behind the creation of such a story behind this work. Likewise, the artist's wife, Nina Kandinsky, wrote that she had a passion for colors since her early childhood, and claimed that she distinguished a certain odor and musical sound for each color with a common synesthetic feature. 

Considered one of the best in abstract art, Kandinsky's power of synesthesia was also reflected in literature. The artist, who has a place at the pinnacle of interdisciplinarity, also had a prose-poetic work called “Voices”. Published in 1912, this book had a great impact on impressionism, expressionism and Russian futurism. Beyond that, he himself must have aimed for the same result, because he said these words: 

“We fought for the painting, but painting alone will not be enough. I had the idea for a synthetic book that broke down half of the old, narrow concepts, broke down the walls between the arts … and finally proved that the problem of art was not a problem of form but a problem of spiritual content.”

Breaking down the barriers between the arts was a very ambitious and difficult statement to implement. It was just as necessary in terms of representing unity and solidarity in the name of that period. Because the machine age, which started to show its effect in music, led to the emergence of different approaches. These thoughts, which were exciting for some, were the kind that should be listened to for others. But it should not be forgotten that innovative and different ideas were always the ones that took us one step further.

SONG A man sits in the tight ring, in the tight ring of Your Stuck. Pleased man. They don't have ears. He's missing his eyes. There is no trace of the crimson hum of the red sun ball. -Those who have fallen must rise. And he who does not speak must sing a song. And the man with no ears and no eyes must find Something about the Crimson hum of the Red sun ball. Wassily Kandinsky

In the poem "Song" in Kandinsky's book "Sounds", the voice that activates and gives strength to the reader was a great motivation for the existence and progress of new thoughts. In this context, Kandinsky's “Song” created the impression of a support arm for the developments in 20th century music on me. Kandinsky, whose interest in Schoenberg's works is known and the reality of his transitions between arts cannot be ignored, seemed to be a supporter who stimulated the futurist manifestos in music from the inside. Who knows, maybe the effect of music on him and the deep relationship he established with him was because he knew it as a debt to show this support.

In addition to the influence of Russian futurism mentioned above, futuristic views were also vocal in music in the same years. Among the newly advocated approaches was the emancipation of the voice. In the music that accompanies the mechanized society lay the idea of ​​transforming noise into music. Initiatives that did not achieve the desired result at first, succeeded in time. Perhaps time alone was not the solution; Thanks to hidden stimulants like Kandinsky and other combiners soundsto the noise had turned. The leading composers of the period were already ready for the noise to turn into music. 

For example, the French composer Edgard Varese, born in 1883, composed in 1931. ionization what he wanted to convey with his work was the intensity of listening to the noise of the city. He aimed to reflect the real thing and tried to turn this fascinated city noise into music. He created order in disorder; from noise to music. However, this work marked many firsts and inspired many. Naturally, some people will not like this idea. But thought must be opposed with thought. Preventing or getting ahead of it in other ways always lags development. Because people should always be free, music like people.


Amy Ione & Christopher Tyler (2003). Was Kandinsky a Synesthete?, Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 12:2, 223-226, DOI: 10.1076/jhin. 

Amy Ione & Christopher Tyler (2004). Neuroscience, History and the Arts Synesthesia: Is F-Sharp Colored Violet?, Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, DOI: 10.1080/09647040490885493

Kandinsky, W., 2015. Sesler, Six Forty-Five Publications, p. 67.

Chilingirian, S., Hall, G., Hayes, M., Lankester, M., Lutchmayer, K., Mcgowan, K., Ogano, K., Rashbrook, S., Reitz, C., L., Rutherford- Johnson, T., Shirley, H., 2019. Classical Music Book. ALFA Publishing, p. 264-268.

Wen-Chung, C. (1966). Varese: A Sketch of the Man and His Music. The Musical Quarterly, 52(2), 151-170. Retrieved March 27, 2021, from ve Google Arts & Culture


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