OVERVIEW

Wilde, Musical Motifs, & Color

Wilde’s use of musical references combined with his use of vivid impressionistic color would have been irresistible to Griffes. Yellow was something of a signature color for Wilde, both in his personal life and in his writing. He was famously associated with the sunflower during his lecture tour in North America, for instance. But what is of interest in this project is the color in Wilde’s writing. Throughout Poems (which does not include all of Wilde’s published poems), Wilde uses direct variants on words yellow, gold, and amber nearly 150 times. For Griffes, this color was directly associated with the musical tonality of E-flat. As a result, Wilde’s musical references and lyrical talent combined with a color reference that Griffes would have physically heard along with reading.


What follows is the beginning of quantification of Wilde's use of musical motifs and yellow/gold color in his poetic works. 

 

YELLOW/GOLD IN WILDE'S POETRY

from Wilde's Collected Poems published in 1913

Identifying the trends in usage in the collected poems.

 

Numerically quantifying the use of yellow/gold in the collected poems.

 

YELLOW/GOLD IN WILDE'S SELECTED POETRY

Griffes's selected corpus

This image examines the corpus of Wilde poems that Griffes chosen for musical settings. The use of yellow/gold in the works indicates that color might have been a driving factor in the composer's  poem selection.

 

Numerically quantifying the use of yellow/gold in the composer's corpus.

 

MUSICAL REFERENCES IN WILDE'S POETRY

This a numerical quantification of the Wilde's musical references in his works.