Synesthesia

kaboyle

Junior Member
Hi guys! This is my first post.

I have music color synesthesia, that is, when I hear music I "see" colors corresponding very specifically to each sound. I've been this way all of my life. It isn't really a "disorder" in my case. I feel it helps me in just about every aspect of my trade. When I improve, it's like I'm selecting from a color palette. When learning knew songs, I only have to conjure up the "shape" of a guitar riff or bass line to remember it. You can find a lot of cool information about synesthesia on wikipedia.

I also just wrote a blog about my childhood and synesthesia. http://thinkpercussive.blogspot.com/2012/09/synesthesia.html

Anyway, I was wondering, does anyone on this board have similar experiences to share?
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
I don't have this situation

but studying with Elvin Jones....who did have this....gave me a complete understanding of it

so much of an understanding that sometimes I actually see the colors

Elvin never talked about sounds....he talked about colors and textures .....

see him talk about it here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0T5p1ZmQ1M&feature=relmfu
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I experience a strong visio-spacial "map" of musical passages.

I can also use this for memorizing other things..its just not as good as my musical map.

Not so sure this falls into synesthesia...and have read other well noted drummers similar experience to mine.

Though I do feel physical pain when hearing some really (subjectivly) "Bad" Musical passages...but thats an emotional response not direct "wiring" crossover.
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
I have music color synesthesia, that is, when I hear music I "see" colors corresponding very specifically to each sound.
I am sooooo jealous!

Seriously!

Of all the possible anomalies out there, you’ve got the coolest.

And you’re in good company, musician-wise. Congrats!
 

kaboyle

Junior Member
Haha thank you!

It's always something I took for granted until recently. I'd like to focus on it a lot more as a musical gift.
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
Musicians with synaesthesia:

Stevie Wonder
Itzhak Perlman
Eddie Van Halen
Billy Joel
Jimi Hendrix
John Mayer
Tori Amos
Duke Ellington

(I can’t really guarantee list accuracy; I just did a quick search.)
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Weird. I have it a bit differently. Not colors but sounds have shapes; and "landscapes" made up of shapes is the best way to describe it when I listen to or play music. A few other things too, but not related to sound. Mostly in the way I remember things, although it doesn't "help", it's just that I remember "differently". Memory is still terrible, especially with my ADD going on.
 

kaboyle

Junior Member
Very interesting.. It's cool to know that there are seemingly quite a few people out there with a similar gift.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Musicians with synaesthesia:
(I can’t really guarantee list accuracy; I just did a quick search.)
Interesting list there.

I wonder if 1 or 2 of them just said it because they wanted to enhance their image.

I wish I had Synesthesia. I did get a led light recently and can't believe how much it affects the mood and music when I jam with friends, very cool stuff.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I actually have synesthesia, although it is not as pronounced as some others it is quite a gift with sounds and music.

I don't physically 'see' colour like some but sound always conjures images in my mind unconsciously. In fact, I have to really concentrate to ignore the sounds and that can apply to any sound, particularly when I'm not concentrating on anything specific. It's like a background 'hum' the whole time.

It's also quite a textural thing. Watso describes 'landscapes' and that is exactly what I experience too. Whole passages of music are actually remembered as shapes and colours and that means that despite a short-term memory deficiency that I have, I can remember music years after I've played it. In fact, recently I was playing along to music that I haven't even heard in eight years and remembered every single bar.

I actually thought that this experience of music was totally normal until I spoke to others about it. It's no coincidence that some of my favourite musicians and composers have synesthesia - Olivier Messiaen is a great example and I think that it gives me a deep understanding of his thought processes sometimes. As for Elvin? It makes a lot more sense if you understand this way!

Grea, I'm seeing grey and red jagged mountains predominantly in that example. I'd have to talk to you in real time to describe it better.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Grea, I'm seeing grey and red jagged mountains predominantly in that example. I'd have to talk to you in real time to describe it better.
Thanks Duncan. It'll be interesting to find out how many of you see similar things - to see if there's an objective component to it all. How about Blue Rhondo a la Turk - the two opposing themes?
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Dude- you're just like Daredevil!! Seriously though, is it music specifically which triggers your mutant power or can it be any sound?
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Thanks Duncan. It'll be interesting to find out how many of you see similar things - to see if there's an objective component to it all. How about Blue Rhondo a la Turk - the two opposing themes?
I see smooth 'hills' for the clarinet - in green (talking 9/8 section) and 'spiked' yellow for the cymbal accents. As for the rest I'll have to listen to it. It's so vivid that I can remember the colours and shapes and I haven't listened to it in at least four years.

This might be of interest to some of you. I remember looking at this when I did a minor degree in Psychology:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouba/kiki_effect
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
If you want you can always Skype me if you're interested in more detail over the experiences. Needless to say, I've never needed hallucinogen. If you want, I can PM you my Skype address.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
I am sooooo jealous!

Seriously!

Of all the possible anomalies out there, you’ve got the coolest.

And you’re in good company, musician-wise. Congrats!
+1 for sure!

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