Energy + Form + Color = Emotion

Energy + Form + Color = Emotion

Maybe it’s not E=MC2 but there’s an important truth here.  Energy is not Emotion nor is Color.  Only combined with Form do they transform into the substance of Emotion.  The four are easy to confuse and difficult to separate, but as you gain conscious awareness and control of your art, it’s essential to be able to differentiate them and develop them individually. 

As an adolescent, music is pure emotion.  Color is a subset of emotion and you’re unable to see the skeleton of energy underneath it all.  Gradually I became aware of Energy as a separate force and my Theory of Musical Energy was born.  Not that it’s a new discovery – it’s more of a difference in semantics.  But from a practical point of view, I know of no other musical theory for performers that nears its usefulness.

Imagine Energy as Architecture.  My family’s business was designing and building houses, so I grew up seeing small wildernesses cleared out, plots of land dug up, and skeletons of houses slowly take shape.  At first, every house looked the same.  Even as the foundations and principal pillars were laid, it still looked only like cement spread over dirt with wood sticking out.  {How I loved helping lay cement at $2.50/hour on free Saturdays!  Building foundations appealed to me from early on.}  Gradually, magically, the form started to look more like a house and I looked forward to helping paint the hard-to-reach nooks-and-corners in bathrooms and closets.  There was a satisfaction in seeing a house finished and sold, then become a home as a family moved in.  My not-yet-even-10-year-old self took satisfaction and pride in knowing that my own two hands had helped create something important.

On top of a cleared plot of land springs a skeletal form, which is gradually covered with filled in and colored, and a house is born.  The house then becomes living, breathing home.

This is the proper relationship between Energy, Form, Color and Emotion { and also nears the process of composing and interpreting }.

When I first started studying conducting, my teacher said, David, you possess everything except a skeleton.  By this, he meant of course that my conducting was completely ineffectual because I had no technique and was simply waving my arms in front of people.

Energy + Color = formless, meaningless Emotion.

Energy + Form = colorless, lifeless, non-descript Emotion

Color + Form = motionless Emotion, an anomaly.

The first formula represents the most common form of musical expression among unformed interpreters.  The second is less common among adolescents, but quite common among mature interpreters.  Remember, even boredom is an emotional state.  The third formula is an important analytical state, but is of course impossible to realize.

Defining the underlying energy may seem dry or analytical at first to the young interpreter, but don’t try to construct castles of emotions without first laying the foundation.  First, study the overall design, the plans.  Lay down the foundation and then the pillars.  Don’t build the second floor before the first.

Colors can and must be learned separate from their emotional entrappings and architectural uses.  Next, learn to paint architecture with minimal emotional involvement.  This is the beginning of mastery.  But when you begin to paint, be sure that you have a wall to paint on.  These are basic truths…

And once your house is properly constructed, release it to the world and let it be lived in.  Zen begins when you free your creation and the house becomes a home.


There is a way to again be in real time with the universe,

but it is not through force, imagination or manipulation.

It is by finding your true Self.

When you do, you will not need to manipulate life, it will simply flow.

~ Mooji