Mary Hallock-Greenewalt
Mary Hallock-Greenewalt was the only woman to create her own color organ, the Sarabet (named after her mother, Sara Tabet). A rococo design, the Sarabet resembles an open egg and rests on the shoulders of a sculpted kneeling woman. Built in 1919, the Sarabet consisted of a rheostat that controlled reflections made by seven colored lights that played against a background of a single color, a combination that could display 267 different shades--usually deployed in recital alongside an orchestra. Hallock-Greenewalt developed her own system of color notation--which included information about the brightness of the lights used--and believed that color music had curative properties. She dubbed her art "Nourathar," a portmanteau of two Ararbic terms. As with many of the color music practitioners, Hallock-Greenewalt was convinced that she was the originator of the form. In a rather lengthy book published in 1946, Nourathar: The Fine Art of Light-Color Playing, she proclaimed, regarding color music, "It is I who have conceived it, originated it, exploited it, developed it, and patented it." Hallock-Greenewalt, like so many other color organists, vouched for her primacy, though Thomas Wilfred himself wryly noted a year later that light instruments "still pop out at least once a year as a brand new idea." She also claimed to have invented abstract cinema, and said that she painted films between 1909 and 1912, although there is no material evidence to support her assertion.

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The Sarabet color organ