About

The difference between traditional printed music - black ink on white paper - and music rendered with the Colormusik engine.
The difference between traditional printed music - black ink on white paper - and music rendered with the Colormusik engine.

My name is Chip Miller. I'm a software developer, concert pianist, and synesthete. My research in tuning systems, romantic music, and the keyboard works of J. S. Bach have led me to develop my own notation software, which I call "Colormusik." This software is built on the principle of readability for both performers and audiences. The result is music that is not only a visual delight, but a explanation and guide of the music's content. 

Detail of Fifty Color Blocks from the first piece of the Well-Tempered Clavier, laid on paper before the final rendering. Printed on 19x15 cotton cardstock, Indigo printer, courtesy of Print Icon, NY.
Detail of Fifty Color Blocks from the first piece of the Well-Tempered Clavier, laid on paper before the final rendering. Printed on 19x15 cotton cardstock, Indigo printer, courtesy of Print Icon, NY.

It is no news that modern classical musicians are struggling to gain audiences. There are many reasons for this; since the invention of the radio, we have increasingly looked to machines to produce music. But there's a different set of reasons why most of us would rather spend two hours at a movie theater than at at symphony performance: there is no visual explanation of the music. Our modern minds are heavily fed by visual information, and our attention spans decrease tremendously when that information is not available. 

Colormusik allows the listener to see the "story" of the music - anticipating or reliving it, at will.  Photo of 19x15 digital print.
Colormusik allows the listener to see the "story" of the music - anticipating or reliving it, at will. Photo of 19x15 digital print.

Colormusik provides a "roadmap" so that audiences can, at a glance, see a musical story that will gradually unfold over any length of time. 

We used to write computer code in black and white.  In the 80s.  Let's get music out of the 18th century now.
We used to write computer code in black and white. In the 80s. Let's get music out of the 18th century now.

As a software developer, I have spent thousands of hours writing - and looking at - code. In the 1980s when I started programming, software developers could stare only at monochrome monitors. When information is presented to us in black and white, our minds have to work hard to find what we seek. (Imagine what a nightmare a "Where's Waldo?" book would be in black and white!) Today's software engineers have the luxury of multi-color development environments, and are able to quickly scan thousands of lines of code easily, examining structure and context from the coloring system. Colormusik was conceived to provide this readability to musicians. 

Concept art created for the English version of the world's first full-color edition of the Well-Tempered Clavier
Concept art created for the English version of the world's first full-color edition of the Well-Tempered Clavier

Your support in this Kickstarter campaign will help fund the publishing of the "color manual" of classical music - nearly 140 pages of pristine and exquisitely beautiful music. The manual was written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1722, for the purpose of demonstrating the personality (actually described in previous centuries as coloring), of each of the twenty-four harmonic regions (twelve major keys, and twelve minor keys). This work is so revered in pianists' repertoire that it has been dubbed the "Old Testament" of the literature (Beethoven's Sonatas are the "New"), and was the essential guide for Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann. It has shaped the development of classical music more than any other work in history, and to date has only been available in black and white. 

Together, let's make the world's most beautiful music into the world's most beautiful music.

Colormusik: Print detail, available in 5x7 and 8x10 for Art Lover and Musician rewards
Colormusik: Print detail, available in 5x7 and 8x10 for Art Lover and Musician rewards
19x15 fine art poster, available in the Patron of the Arts and above rewards
19x15 fine art poster, available in the Patron of the Arts and above rewards
Colormusik mousepad
Colormusik mousepad
The first edition of the First Prelude, available in Student and Master's Rewards
The first edition of the First Prelude, available in Student and Master's Rewards
The first edition of the First Fugue, available in Student and Master's Rewards
The first edition of the First Fugue, available in Student and Master's Rewards
Workstation maker: The Standup Edition
Workstation maker: The Standup Edition
Coasters!
Coasters!

Risks and challenges

There are no risks associated with this campaign - I have spent approximately two hundred hours developing the Colormusik engine, and have produced all artwork shown here. I reviewed fifteen of the top NYC print shops before selecting the fine work of Print Icon of New York (http://www.printicon.com/) to deliver the 19x15 print. This print has been available for purchase on Amazon for two months, and has already been shipped to customers.

The Amazon print and reviews are available at http://www.amazon.com/Colormusik-CMLLW001-Prelude-Fugue-BWV846-847/dp/B018RP0KAE/ref=sr_1_1….

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    Receive six (6) extremely cool music coasters. You won't want to spill anything on these!
    No two coasters alike, guaranteed.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Student of Music reward!

    Receive the first edition of the Colormusik First Prelude and Fugue from Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Four individual leaves, suitable for study at the piano.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Digital Art rewards! You will receive a collection of 50 digital photos, beautiful to enjoy as desktop background art. These photographs were taken to make this project's introductory movie. Additionally, your name will be listed as a Supporter on the project web page.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Coffee Lovers Reward!

    Receive in the mail one (1) coffee cup. Begin each day with a musical reflection! Please specify either "Fugue" or "Prelude."

    (Note: to current backers, I say, "Thank you!" I'm sending you one, already!)

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Master of Music reward!

    Receive the first edition of the Colormusik First Prelude and Fugue from Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Four individual leaves, printed on fine art quality paper, suitable for study at the piano or framing.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Digital Bonus award! Receive the digital photos, and a mousepad.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Art Lover rewards! Receive in the mail a 5x7 print of this project's cover art, printed on fine art quality art paper and ready to frame. Also, you will receive the digital photo collection and your name will be listed as a Supporter on the project web page.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Musician rewards! You will receive an exclusive, early-bird notification when the LIMITED FIRST EDITION of the Colormusik Well-Tempered Clavier is available. You will also receive in the mail an 8x10 autographed print of this project's cover art, printed on fine art quality art paper and ready to frame, and the digital photo collection. Your name will be listed as a Patron on the project web page.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Workstation makeover: Colormusik: The standup edition.

    Transform your workplace. Ships with two musician's stands, digital art, mousepad, and coffee cup.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Workstation makeover: Colormusik: The standup edition: The Conductor.

    Transform your workplace. Ships with two conductor's stands, digital art, mousepad, and coffee cup.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Patron of the Arts rewards! You will receive the 19x15 fine art poster, currently available only on Amazon for $350. I will autograph the poster (on the back) and ship it to you directly from New York. You will also receive the digital photo collection and an exclusive, early-bird notification when the LIMITED FIRST EDITION of the Colormusik Well-Tempered Clavier is available. Your name will be listed as a Patron on the project web page. This would also make a beautiful seasonal gift for a music student, teacher, or lover of the arts!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Music Addict package, valued at $752.

    Receive all of the rewards above - the digital photos, two coffee cups, six coasters, one mousepad, student AND master's first editions, 5x7print, 8x10 print, 19x15 poster, and an exclusive, early-bird notification notification of the LIMITED FIRST EDITION Colormusik edition of the Well-Tempered Clavier. All work will be personally signed and shipped directly from New York.

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Funding period

- (60 days)