The vocabulary of color perception often enters the description of music and musical experience. However, analysis of the color—note or colorkey associations often reported for "synesthetic" musicians is problematic: color and music associations do not appear to preserve the organizational principles contained within the separate modalities. This study, influenced by recent work on parallel principles for color and speech/timbre perception, proposed that the operation of color principles in melody occurs not at the level of single-tone recognition but at a higher level of auditory organization. This level may be represented by the relationship among key or tonal centers projected on the cycle of fifths. Experimental work tested the prediction that perceived structure of various sequential mixtures of tonal centers would follow the general principles of color mixture. The prediction was supported by the data from fifteen musical listeners; it did fail, however, with a small group of selfreportedly "tone-deaf" listeners. Implications of the color metaphor for the study of tonality are discussed.