Letter | Published:

Colour and Sound


SOME weeks ago there appeared an account of a series of experiments connecting colour and sound; the following passage from Prof. Max Müller's Chips, ii. 104, may interest some of your readers:—“That Purûravas is an appropriate name of a solar hero requires hardly any proof. Purûravas meant the same as πολυδευκής, endowed with much light; for though rava is generally used of sound, yet the root ru, which means originally to cry, is also applied to colour, in the sense of a loud or crying colour, i.e. red (cf. ruber, rufus, Lith, rauda, O.H.G. rôt, rudhira, έρυθρός; also Sanskrit ravi, sun).” The following footnote occurs:—“Thus it is said, Rv. vi. 3, 6, the fire cries with light, soκishâ rârapîti; the two Spartan Charites are called κλητά (κλητά, incluta) and Φαεννά, i.e. Clara, clear-shining. In the Veda the rising sun is said to cry like a new child (Rv. ix. 74, 1)—I do not derive ravas from rap, but I only quote rap as illustrating the close connection between loudness of sound and brightness of light.”

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