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Dujka Smoje musicologue

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Recherche en iconographie musicale

Colors of Bach's Music :
Farbsymphonien in Jakob Weder's Painting

Jakob Weder (1906-1990), an almost unknown Swiss artist, painted 51 works titled Farbsymphonien (color symphonies). Twenty-eight of them are based on Bach's music, and nineteen on compositions by Brahms, Gluck, Haendel, Schubert and Schumann. Visually impressive, all are non-figurative paintings, which propose an entirely new relationship between the visual arts and music . "I have long wanted to create symphonies with colors, just as it is done in music with sounds." (Weder, 1985)


Weder, Farbsymphonie

Bach, Bourrée (1980)

From the end of the 19th century until today, Bach's influence in modern painting and in music has been continuous. Numerous artists - like Kadinsky, Kupka, Delaunay, Van Doesburg, and Klee - most of them protagonists of non-objective painting - found a model and inspiration in Bach's scores, seeking first of all compositional and structural devices to transpose onto canvas. Weder's paintings remain within this trend. His way to the Farbsymphonien was a lifelong task, covering over 40 years of theoretical research and chemical experiments with colors and light.

This research project intend to explore the way in which Weder approaches Bach's music through painting, his conception of a "well-tempered clavier" of color shades, through which he translates the scores onto canvas. Far from any metaphorical or figurative interpretation, the central idea is to find out how and why Weder uses Bach's polyphonic devices to create an entirely original pictorial color language. Its effects are fascinating, giving an impression of magical light , glowing in three-dimensional space and stretching far beyond the physical dimensions of the paintings.

The aim of this study is to go beyond the visible aspects of Weder's painting in order to understand the invisible side of the pictures. The viewer may not be aware of it, but beyond the artistic investigations, there is also a search for universal laws and for order behind the painter's choices and decisions. Just as it is in Bach's "Well-tempered clavier".


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Pour en savoir davantage au sujet d'autres domaines de recherche :

Musique médiévale

Manuscrits neumatiques du XIe siècleI

Esthétique musicale

Entre le silence et les sons inouïs : l'inaudible dans la musique de notre temps (1960-2000)


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5 mars 2016
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