Author: McNeal, Brian

What Color is Bluegrass?

Orange is a color and also a fruit and so is persimmon, but purple is just plain purple, and as the late Roger Miller discovered, doesn't even have a rhyming word.

Thanks to the Crayola® Company the names of many household items and foods have been given “Official Color” status. Even “almond” and “asparagus” are colors.

Audible tones and visual light rays are all part of the same spectrum, so just why the connection between color names and music has not flourished is anyone’s guess.

We got a start but only a stuttering start and possibly even a stall back in 2003 when Crayola® decided to add four new colors to their roster, one of which they named “Jazzberry Jam.” Since that time a lot of different and various entities have adopted the title Jazzberry but none have anything to do with color and very few have anything to do with music. Most seem to be about fruit, but try as I could, I could not find any fruit named Jazzberry. A certain hibiscus plant now has the name Jazzberry, but I wouldn't want to eat it.

Now, ten years later, Jazzberry remains as the only "Official" color that has any reference to music. Is this the year for a "Bluegrass" color?

What we should hope for, and we as a community of like-minded folks should strive for, is a color named for Bluegrass. Not Bluegrassberry or Bluegrass Jam, although the latter would have the obvious double entendre.

Perhaps a committee of IBMA members working to lobby Crayola® for an official “Bluegrass” color is needed. But what color should it be? Do we want them to decide? Oh heavens! What would come of that if they happen to know very little about Bluegrass as a music genre?

Do we want a committee of renowned bluegrass pickers to decide? But our own history of attempting to decide a standard definition for bluegrass music as a genre seems to forewarn us that we'd never get a color for Bluegrass that everyone could agree upon.

Should it have more blue and less green? It comes from the heart so I think some blood red ought to be included. Any color with the name “Bluegrass” most definitely should reflect our founding fathers and pioneers so does that mean that ALL of the primary colors should be included in equal amounts? I'm not sure the result would be pleasing to anyone and we haven't even mixed in a few different colors, shades and hues to represent newer strains of bluegrass.

Maybe a select group of scientific researchers could take readings and measurements from over 100 random samples of blades of real Kentucky Bluegrass and analyze them to come up with the final official version.

Looking ahead, I'm sure that we'd only be the start of the music-color movement. Other genres would surely follow. If we were to be successful in obtaining an official “Bluegrass” color what would come next? Would we be opening the door to something the world would never be able to accept?

What color should “Rap” be?
Have A Great Week,
Brian McNeal, Host of Prescription Bluegrass Radio & Blog

Posted:  4/27/2013

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