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Ruth Watson Henderson writes: "I have always felt that there is a strong connection between visual colors and musical colors. When I came across the poems about colors in Mary O'Neill's book, Hailstones and Halibut Bones, I realized they would make wonderful songs for young singers. I tried to capture the different colors in the poems I chose with scales and intervals that seemed to match them. Strong colors are expressed with dissonant sounds, while softer colors are described with whole tones and gentler sounds. Particular keys are associated with the various colors: Red is in a key with sharps, Blue is in a key with flats and White has no sharps or flats."
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The path of love is not always sunlit. In "Shades of Love," the music expresses a variety of emotions brought on by the diverse stages of love: ecstasy, tenderness, bitterness, wistfulness, eternal devotion. The colours and harmonies shift to match the mood of the poetry as each song portrays a different aspect of love.
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