Seeing music as color

June 21, 2007 at 06:37 PM · Greetings,

Thought I might start a thread on a rather interesting topic: synesthesia. This is basiclaly the linking of differnet sensory modalities so that for example, somebody may always see a particlaur letter as a particlar color. This relationship is the most common one but there are so many possible combinations that the type one experiences is typically notated as music (arrow) color, or whatever. Incidentally, it is not as simple as just matching a color to a specific tone. The hue may actually change according to the degre eof intensity of attack.

I have met many exceptionally talented players who see sound as colorin the minds I and I stated in a recent thread that this does seme to me to be a useful benchmark for very high level talent.

Historically, the following musicians have been well known for the condition which, incidentlaly, is not associated with any mental disorders: Duke Ellington (timbre/color) Franz Liszt (music/color) Rimsky Korsakov and Messiaen. Also Helene Grimaud.

But it also seems to me that musicians naturally try to evoke something like this effetc in our own playing and studnets even if we personally tend to experience music as vibration or whatever? (infact, what does everyone experience music as?)

Thus book like Adventure s in Violinland delibertly associate stirngs with specific colors and it has also been drawn to my attention that if one is asked to name a color to go with a specific open string then there is quite a large degre e of unanimity. I also reclal going to a teacher just after graduating who told me that my palyign of a Paginini caprice had too much light green where he wanted purples and reds. Clearly violnists are quite happy working with colors so what are peoples` take on this?

Cheers,

Buri

Replies (93)

June 21, 2007 at 08:31 PM · Stephen -

Interesting thread. A few of my friends who studied with Syoko Aki at Yale told me that she is big into the pitch and tone have a specific color theory. Apparently, her ideas are very thought out. I wish I knew more and maybe someone who studied/worked with Aki can shed more light one this.

June 21, 2007 at 09:50 PM · In one of Carla Leur's blogs, she's violin shopping or something and seems to catagorize fiddles as having either a burgundy sound or a green sound.

One of the most interesting experiences of my life was hearing a recital by a local guy whose name I don't remember, but he'd done well in the Tchaikovsky competition. The whole recital, the sound he was producing was like a point source located at his contact point, with sparks flying out. Like an arc welder. Luckily I didn't see it literally... but it was very distinct in my mind's eye (what Jimi Hendrix called the "dream eye" in an interview). Some players are liable to evoke really wild colors and shapes in me in that regard, and that's a huge part of the enjoyment and something that distinguishes them from each other.

I think psychedelia in art was an attempt to describe or incorporate this experience, which synesthesia is a large part of. I wouldn't want it to be more defined than that. I wouldn't want it to be more literal than that, since it then becomes mundane. I wouldn't want it taken out and used as a benchmark of anything, but sure, people with that kind of mind, or who've had that kind of experience induced, are often superior in many ways I think, provided they are conscientious people, so why not superior musicians.

P.S. what is the unanimity on open strings. I would guess from G to E, grey, blue, green, and maybe yellow. But I know myself well enough to be surprised if this is the "right" impression :)

June 21, 2007 at 10:27 PM · Buri, In the previous thread on California Absolute pitch study, some people mention this phenomena. One of them suggested the following site;

http://www.mixsig.net/about/types.php

Hope it's still up.

Ihnsouk

June 22, 2007 at 02:58 AM · A specific color is a frequency in the light spectrum. Sound waves are very slow compared to light (color) waves. Speed up sound waves far enough and you're into the light spectrum frequencies. Couldn't light waves be a harmonic of a sound wave?

June 22, 2007 at 03:06 AM · I see music as an 'ether' that has substance--As something that actually generates energy in my person and mind that I don't have words for. It's like some type of 'real' connection that might be similar to the aromas of a good meal cooking or something. This is a good comparison because I actually feel nourished by good music.

Colors? no. Something? yes.

June 22, 2007 at 04:25 AM · Buri,

This is really fascinating. I have a couple of questions:

Are these color associations related to tonality, to mood or to interpretation?

If they are associated with particular keys then I wonder if there is some scientific explanation (perhaps not yet understood) that could account for the perception of a relationship between particular notes/harmonies/keys with particular colors. Something akin to the 'harmonics' alluded to above.

If on the other hand, it has more to do with mood or interpretation, then the association of a particular color with a particular piece or way of playing might have a more subjective basis. That wouldn't make it any less interesting, just harder to study!!

cheers...

June 22, 2007 at 03:57 AM · ...and here's another question for Buri:

If you take your highly gifted students with synesthesia, put them in a room and have them listen to the same pieces, then ask them to write down their color associations on a piece of paper, will you get (a) all the same responses; (b), a variety, but one or two dominant responses, or (c) all hell breaking loose?

I'm really curious...!

June 22, 2007 at 04:01 AM · Elvin Jones, the jazz drummer, used to explain his drumming that way. He'd start playing one of the bigger drums and put his hand out to show the blue/purple background he was laying down, then the medium drum would add some green over it, the small drum yellow, and the high hats and cymbals spots of orange and yellow. And you could kind of see the colors shifting as he played across the drum set. Wild stuff!

June 22, 2007 at 04:28 AM · That's interesting...so by analogy we might think of the violin E string as sounding orange, the A as being perhaps red (anyway I see it as red!), the D as blue-green and the G as purple.

That's about where I would place them in this rainbow-type association scale...but for tonal nuances in particular pieces this would be more of a challenge than for open strings (BTW, Buri, what are the colors alluded to in the book you mentioned??)

June 22, 2007 at 05:56 AM · ray - interesting thought, but sound waves are oscillations in a physical medium, and light waves are oscillations in the electromagnetic field, so there's no direct relation...but they're both waves! =) (Actually people have used quantized sound waves to model the behavior of photons, but that's a different topic)

Buri, this is really interesting to me. I don't think I have synthesthesia but I do have visceral reactions to certain notes, chords, and progressions that involve color, memory (nothing unique there, I suppose), emotion, and sometimes even smell all wrapped up in one experience. When performing and especially when improvising, I like to think of colors and emotions rather than saying "next I'll play a G, then an Eb," etc. When I hear d minor I think of a specific hue of red, c# minor is dark purple-blue, E Major is yellow...I think in my case though it might be associations I made subconciously rather than an innate thing. In real synthesthesia I think it's more of a physiological thing, where aural input is processed directly as optical output.

June 22, 2007 at 06:18 AM · Might be interesting to hear versions of the open strings mine are g-brown d - green a- red e- yellow thats already the third variation on this thread.The Silvay colour string method uses g-green d - red a - blue and e - yellow. For me an a is absolutely not blue. However open strings aside it all depends on what you are playing for example a luscious phrase played high on the g string can become a warm mustard golden yellow but with tinges of orange and red but that rather depends on the piece and the moment in time of the phrase.

June 22, 2007 at 06:58 AM · That's right Nicholas. No matter how high a note Ray plays, he'll never bake a potato with it.

"For me an a is absolutely not blue." - Janet Griffiths

"The violins, the deep tones of the basses, and especially the wind instruments at that time embodied for me all the power of that pre-nocturnal hour. I saw all my colors in my mind; they stood before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me." - Wassily Kandinsky

"I went to hear a recital by my old teacher who I hadn't heard in years. He was a lot better than he used to be. There was an immense deep red cloud with white spots above him that was never there before." - Jim W. Miller

:)

June 22, 2007 at 07:16 AM · Scriabin was a real synaesthesia-maniac (even more excessive than Messiaen) writing a lot of symphonic works, which should be performed with light organs and effects (I've seen his Prometheus once with those synaesthesia-effects - imagine a bombastic symphony with disco balls).

He believed his tonal analogies would be universal, he was so convinced, that he confessed once, that sometimes he had anticipated a change of colors even earlier than a change of tonalities itself took place.

[You can find more about Scriabins color analogies and a comparison between his and Rimsky-Korsakov's color vision of tonalities here.]

June 22, 2007 at 08:56 AM · The color concept only makes sense. Humans are created with five interlocked senses that make order out of stimuli. Look for parallels, logical associations. Low to high pitches are determined as such even by the way our voice box moves to reach the sounds. Large, heavy objects make lower grumbly sounds, and small, light things make the high sounds, usually. And when you look at the earth, you see the ground, the things growing from the ground, the creatures traveling between earth and sky, and the heavens themselves. It makes sense that the E string, high and trebel sounding, would remind us of sunshine and the heavens. It is bright and yellow, isn't it? To me, the G is low and earthy, the D grows peacefully like grass, the A is vibrant like lifeblood, and the E rings like the heavens.

None of that is set in stone, because the sounds remind people differently, according to their own life experiences. Maybe not everyone knows the reasons why they associate a color with a note, if in fact they do.

But they remind me. Everything reminds me of something else. The aesthetics of art and music are drawn from nature itself, which is a common ground for all humans. It is a combination of the aesthetics of the created earth and that of the human plight. These roots fuel and define the reasons for art and music. We sense these things with our ears, our noses, our tongues, our eyes, and our fingers. If you can experience a lemon with all of these senses, is it too difficult to find a way to use all five senses with music as well? If not literally, then figuratively.

June 22, 2007 at 10:00 AM · Hmm, if I'm not wrong Dominant strings have a yellow wrapping for the E....co-incidence? Maybe it is causing some forum members to sub-consciously associate the colour they associate with each string?

June 22, 2007 at 11:43 AM · Neuropsychology in general and synesthesia in particular are not my particular areas of expertise as a psychologist. However, the complex and subtle interconnections between the senses, neurologically and experientially, have been noted for a long time.

Personally, my view at this point in my life is that most serious musicians (as well as amateurs like me, and even serious music-lovers) probably have some of this kind of overlap, whether it is visual or some other sense. It is probably what motivates us all.

Personally, I have no visual associations whatsoever when it comes to music. But I do have physical, visceral sensations, mostly in the pit of my stomach, and mostly experienced as strong emotions having this physical component. So when I hear a Bartok quartet, I don't "see" anything; but the auditory experience is so immediate and clear - it's like someone is talking to me - that it literally affects me in a physical way. It's hard to explain. In other words, I don't just "hear" music; I "feel" it. Being as analytical about it as I can, I believe it is a very mild form of synesthesia, but not with vision as the extra-auditory sensation. And I don't think I'm alone.

Anyway, very very interesting discussion.

Sandy

June 22, 2007 at 02:37 PM · ...well, I associate the Paganini caprices with red, but I think that is because the cover of the International Edition is also red...the Prokofiev g minor is light green...and guess what, so is the cover!

But seriously, the use of color is simply another form of expression. Perhaps the very talented students mentioned by Buri are simply extremely precise in their perception of sound, and gifted in their ability to express nuances of 'meaning' through sound...no reason why these abilities would not also be related to the ability to perceive and use color.

Oh, and Nicholas is correct about the differences between sound and light (which is why light can travel in a vacuum or in space, but sound cannot)...back to HS physics!

June 22, 2007 at 03:17 PM · To me the E string is silver. On good days it is really silver, as in beautiful and valuable, but on other days the color goes away entirely, it becomes more like a knife, and it cuts. I think that reaction to the E string is one reason I became a violist. I find the most satisfying viola music to be burgundy, reddish-brown, purple, or dark blue. And I think that reaction influenced my choice of viola and viola case. I really didn't want any green, even though some of the green case interiors are objectively quite lush and lovely.

June 22, 2007 at 03:23 PM · Hey, just throwing in my "open string" associations I guess...

G - deep purple/blue

D - red/orange (it's warm to me)

A - neutral or light blueish

E - Yellow (I've only used Dominants in the last year, and the yellow factor for me has been around a lot longer. Before I used D'addario Zyex and Evah Pirazzi's).

I heard that Mozart saw A as red, for those that see that, thought you might find that interesting!

Things change a bit though, depending on tonalities and characteristics of a piece.

Mendelssohn concerto is Golden to me.

Does anyone see colors that eventually make up a scheme in a picture? Sometimes I'll see that when I listen to music.

ex. one piece evoked all these olive greens, and misty grays, and browns, and it eventually made me think of a swampy area, like in an Indiana Jones' movie.

Also, I knew a pianist who tastes things (she has perfect pitch and it's always consistent with her for the pitch)...one pitch was coffee, another was cotton...etc.

June 22, 2007 at 04:21 PM · How come I didn't know about this very interesting thread? Must do better research!(Or I'm getting VERY old...)

I only don't agree w/ the statement of "benchmark for very high talent"... Since I can remember, I feel & think music as colors and don't consider myself talented at all...But one of the most impressive things I've seen in my (so-called) musical life was Mr.Vargas score of the Straussian (There's a gorgeous recording of it w/ his son Gilbert, now conductor,playing 1st violin) "Metamorphosen"...I think he must have asked some painter for any shade and light/shadow effect.

PS Misha S, tks a lot for the links!

June 22, 2007 at 04:55 PM · I don't claim to have synaesthesia, but a few years ago at the Proms I experienced the inside of the Royal Albert Hall auditorium changing from red/burgundy to purple while I was listening to a piece by Rimsky Korsakov. It was as if the hearing part of my brain couldn't cope with so much pleasure, and feelings spilled over into another part of my head.

Appararently the drug Ecstasy also causes this type of effect where senses get mixed up (tasting colours, etc).

June 22, 2007 at 05:22 PM · Has there been any neurological research on this sort of thing - i.e. has anyone looked at the brain activity of a musically inclined synaesthete to determine how much and what parts of the visual cortex are involved when they are playing or listening?

June 22, 2007 at 08:24 PM · I have different colors when I listen to music, too. Usually it's a single color with an odd texture and no definite shape in the form of light on a black background. Most John Williams music is dim yellow light, but the Star Wars usually comes out more white and the occassional dim red. More intense music like Pirates is typically a deep dark red. Jazz is normally blue, but sometimes purple or green. Dixieland is a very bright shade of blue. Country is orange. Classic rock is usually purple. 90s pop is blue or green. The stuff on the pop stations now is ugly dim gray. And classical is typically dim dark green.

Sometimes, though, like in the case of soundtracks, I wonder if my mind is contaminated by the album art. Other music? Nah...I hear those on the radio, not CDs. I'm not sure how I instinctively relate the colors to the music, but I imagine it has something to do with experiences.

June 22, 2007 at 08:45 PM · I also tend to feel a sort of physical sensation, when listening to certain types of music and songs. Often times I'll feel a surge of energy from my stomach which will flow down my legs and out from my hands, sometimes it will also give a sort of erotic sensation coupled with a slight sense of nausea.

June 23, 2007 at 12:35 AM · One of my best friends has very strong synaesthesia. I once saw her nearly get sensory overload listening to Messaien's "Quartet for the End of Time", and she occasionally says things like "Ugh! That was the ugliest shade of taupe I've ever heard!" It's fun, I wish I had synaesthesia...

A funny Liszt quote, apparently during a rehearsal of one of his own symphonic poems: "Bluer, gentlemen!"

As for myself, I guess I might have really really mild synaesthesia, as sometimes I get vague, almost subconscious color impressions from certain keys, timbres, even melodies. The opening bars of the overture to the Magic Flute for some reason are the strongest--a very distinct golden yellow.

June 23, 2007 at 01:24 AM · Taupe?

June 23, 2007 at 01:35 AM · I associate colors with music. It'd be nice to know if that meant something good. To me, E major is red, C major is yellow or golden. D minor is a deeper blue. B flat is a ruddy brown. This can change according to context.

I once walked into a room at my Dad's house, and he was listening to a Claudio Arrau cd of solo piano. I was absent-mindedly thinking of something nothing to do with music at all, and opened the door and walked in. Suddenly I literally saw a rainbow of colours changing in my mind's eye, as each note was played. It was semiquavers (sixteenths) I think, and it was beautiful. Doctor, I'm not strange am I?

June 23, 2007 at 01:36 AM · I have it as well - My parents have told me that when I was younger I used to describe music or sounds to them through color, and I still do it, just happens without any real effort.

June 23, 2007 at 01:47 AM · Music and color (art), I find it interesting that both have a common vocabulary: scale, chromatic, dominant, mood, brilliance, tone, muted, color, texture harmony, numerous emotional adjectives, etc. (composition, artist, stroke, hair, edge). So it’s not surprising that notes are seen as colors.

I don’t see notes as colors, unfortunately I need a turner to make sure my “a” is true. “God grant me perfect pitch for concert A and make it magenta while you’re at it.” Letting my imagination go, I am inclined to visualize scenes and stories; I often describe musical impressions in terms relating to the sense of taste: bittersweet chocolate, whipped cream, dill pickles, cotton candy, maple syrup, red hot dollars, etc. (I once brought my violin teacher a bag of premium Dutch dark chocolate and told him that’s what I wanted the current piece to sound like. He accepted the candy and I’m still striving…..)

Mary

June 23, 2007 at 05:19 AM · My mother was a painter. My sister is a painter, and so is my brother in law, and one of my nephews. They have all won shows, been mentioned in the press, and won highly commendeds and all that. I grew up with easels and paints, and brushes in pots on the window sill. I grew up watching my mother wrestle with framers. And those damn art show administrators. Most painters can't paint to save themselves. If you have true talent in visual art you are a rarity.

Regarding mental visualisation of color in music, it is a nice adjunct to the art, but perhaps not a necessary quality for musicians to possess. It would be interesting to hear what artists like Itzhak Perlman and Ilya Gringolts have to say.

P.S. When I had root canal treatment done on a top molar about 8 years ago, the endodontist was a bit rough and jammed the filling material deep into the nerve at the base of my tooth. Yiiiiiiiikes!!! I vividly, literally SAW a fiery blue flame crackling in my head, like electricity. So imagined colors I guess are tied up with feelings and nerves.

June 23, 2007 at 04:26 AM · I hear music as music, but I usually experience it as colors (the exception seems to be rap, hip-hop, and raggae.) My experience playing is limited to a young child or as a brand-spanking new violin newbie adult, so I cannot speak to whether I would experience it playing or not since I am so nervous and focused on breathing, posture, where is my bow etc.

But it goes beyond this for me. I also paint in egg tempera. In egg tempera you usually work one very small area at a time and either work one layer at a time over the entire ground, or concentrate on a specific object and build up multiple layers. Once I establish tone, I generally work until each object is nearly completed then move on. What I have noticed is what music I am listening to profoundly impacts my color choice for each layer and the object in general. This happens regardless of my specific color plan for the painting. I've learned to work around this and base my music on the color palette.

The other thing is that I am a twin. My sister also experiences music as colors. My sister also paints (oils and watercolor.) She doesn't feel the music influences her palette choice.

I wonder if right-side or left side of the brain dominance also plays into this. I'm right-handed, right brained, non-emotive, and work in a very technical field. My twin is left-handed, emotive, and while her work can be very technical it is very intuitive in a rather nontraditional way.

June 23, 2007 at 08:46 AM · Techno is the most colorful music to me. It glows like neon most of the time, all different shapes and patterns, but usually all colors come from the neon spectrum.

June 23, 2007 at 03:07 PM · That reminds me, when I was taking the SAT a while back, during the math section at one point I filled in a table with a series of single-digit numbers, and as I was writing them down, I distinctly heard musical notes. I briefly stopped writing, shook my head and thought "God, I'm a nerd..."

June 23, 2007 at 11:25 PM · Open strings on my violin:

E: clear-winter-sky blue

A: vulnerable-young-naïve pink

D: brownish burgundy

G: complex earth & water colors

June 23, 2007 at 11:12 PM · The only colour I can see is just gray!!

June 24, 2007 at 05:12 AM · Aside from all the visual images that I often get when I listen or play music, there is something more significant that I can’t describe but can only point at (or finger toward): I experience music as though someone is persuading me to accept something calmly and rationally, as though someone is saying to me or doing something with me that melts my world (there is physical aspect of it), as though I encounter or feel something so overwhelming that I can’t breath, or as though something so gorgeous that I dare not to look at... There are moments the feeling is similar to that of sense of unfairness, of deep regret, of anticipating something great, or of being free, etc.

I’m sure I’m not making any sense in words, but that in itself explains it all.

June 24, 2007 at 07:20 AM · If I'm playing pieces with lots of large intervals played really quickly in succession, I don't get multicolours, but flashing lights. This can be quite frightening if I'm reliant on reading the music as it becomes obscured by all the pyrotechnics, and I've never mentioned it to my teacher in case she thinks I've really gone bonkers.

By the way, this is the only context in which my playing could be described as flashy!

June 24, 2007 at 03:04 PM · This is very interesting for me because whether playing classical guitar or the violin I have always commented that the right hand finds the notes, but the left hand (the plucking or bowing hand) brings out their color. I have always said this because in my mind that is exactly what the left hand does...bring out the colors. Sound does have color, and so much more. Often in the night, just as sleep begins to take hold, there is an eruption of sound in the form of music in my head, and it is then that colors and other aspects of musical sound are most prevalent, in fact they are actually quite shocking! I have always thought it was the subconcious breaching the surface, making an early appearance in the night. It is a wonderful thing and I love it when this happens. I get to hear a full orchestra playing an original composition in full color, to an audience of one. I used to wonder if I was on the verge of stepping over the edge and into the realm of insanity, but this has been with me for some years now and I now accept it as a part of who I am, and have come to enjoy rather than fear these moments when they do appear. And like I had mentioned before, when this does happen the colors and all aspects of sound are so very intense, and some rather strange aspects of life pass by as well, tied to the music and for which the music seems to have appeared. I'd love to compose music some day, but in truth I find it very intimidating and would feel very vulnerable in the process of doing so. When one's compositions are rejected, it is not the music but the composer who suffers. You may be rejected for your inability to play an instrument at a certain level, but it is your skill as a musician at stake and in this the music suffers. However, when you compose it is your heart at stake and when not accepted your heart suffers. I find this a very high price. Thankfully, not all feel this way and I am very thankful Bach did not allow such to hold him back. I do dearly love the music of Bach. In fact, I had a dream about Bach the other night. It was so beautiful and when I woke I found I had tears on my cheeks. Such is the beauty of Bach.

June 25, 2007 at 02:53 AM · Yixi...I think I know what you're talking about...

You mean that feeling of "WOAH---THAT WAS WEIRD" when music is just so...right? It gives me the chills sometimes when I'm hearing it; when I'm playing it (it rarely happens when I'm playing it, lol) it gives me this spooky warm feeling that is just kind of weird and if it were a drug, I'd get high on it.

I had that feeling when I played at mass this morning...

As Father held up the Body and Blood, I thought to myself, "Think Amen, and play it like you're really saying Amen to God. Say Amen to God with your violin's music the best you can."

And I played the St. Louis Jesuits Mass Amen, and I can't tell you how greatly I was pleased with that "high" feeling of "WOAH THIS MUSIC IS DEFINITELY FEELING SO GOOD"...I felt all warm and got the chills throughout the whole twenty-five second song (that's a long time to have the chills...). I bet God was really happy. My violin's song was definitely an Amen to God today.

Other times, I'll be listening to the middle school orchestra (well, when there used to be a middle school orchestra anyway...) and they'll play something totally better than I expected, and it sends chills up and down my spine.

Either of those the feeling you're talking about?

June 25, 2007 at 03:40 AM · Rob, I do get the kind of experience that you described, but more often when I’m playing, there would be a few bars here and there ‘talking’ to me through something like the voice of an angel, a sage or a loving person. I don’t hear it in ordinary language of course, but I can receive the meanings in a very clear and grounded sort of way just like when I’m listening to a very wise person saying exactly the right thing to me at the right moment. This type of experience of music is very different from visual perception, which I’ve also got. The latter is descriptive in that I can play a piece as though I’m telling a story or painting a picture. That’s a lot of fun too, but it is the former, the normative or prescriptive type of experience that brings me tears and hopefully makes me a better person.

June 25, 2007 at 03:55 AM · Buri,

Your discussion topic is most interesting. I personally think of music as an architecture, think of imagery for phrasing, and generally don't think that much of color.

I try to approach music as if it has an architecture, a structure, climaxes, contrasts in sound, dynamic, texture.

I try not to get too overly emotional about it, at least not initially while I'm thinking about the architecture.

One of your blogs spoke of approaching music while not emoting too much onstage, so that the audience can feel the emotion. This was something similar to what Sandor Vegh used to say in his masterclasses in Lenk, Switzerland - something I went to many years ago.

Your post has also made me revisit the other side, i.e. the emotional side, color synesthesia.

I don't think I'm a classic synesthetic. I don't automatically correlate certain sounds, numbers, etcetera to colors. It's a useful analogy, but I don't allow it to obsess me. I have other things I need/want to do besides wallow in that side of things. I want to bike, practice engineering, play chess, socialize with others. I have too many interests and influences to allow only one area to dominate the others in my life.

Does the Aristotlean quote "The unexamined life is not worth living" apply to me in this case, at least musically? A good question. But perhaps it does not apply to me broadly - across my entire life...

OK, some musical examples...

Brahms G-major sonata for violin and piano. Opening theme: I think of petting a cat. (...except with an upbow. Theoretically, I'd only pet a cat with a downbow. Yes, I know sounds really goofy. ;) )

Tenths section in the Brahms concerto: I think of rock climbing in an extremely risky way - which is sort of like playing tenths!

As for color I would think the best example would be something by Shostokovich. That could be something icy transluscent light blue. But in most cases I think of being on a thick cold quiet sheet of ice when I play or listen to Shostokovich.

In conclusion, I guess I can't claim to be very synesthetic. I think that using nature imagery works better for me.

June 28, 2007 at 03:13 AM · The imagination plays a huge role in this, Buri...I get that, too...although right now the examples totally cease to present themselves to me...

I wonder how your cat would respond to an up-bow petting? Or spiccato? Or col legno? Or pizziccato? hhmmmmm...better not try the pizz...it could get painful.

June 28, 2007 at 06:15 AM · With my cat's tummy, you can do all that and he'll smile:)

June 29, 2007 at 04:01 AM · I wish I knew more about how color and pitches are related.

Both are vibrations but light is faster than sound in speed at which the vibrations travel.

Sound very clearly (or seems to be clearly) moves through air but light is another question. If it truly moves at the speed of time (so to speak), how could it be moving through air if all time would stop at it's speed? Are movement and time separate?

speed of sound at sea level = 340.29 m / s

the speed of light = 299 792 458 m / s

I do know that, when I would be painting that it would relax my mind to such a degree that I would get very clear and articulate ideas for music at a multidimensional level. I would hear a melody that would go with a particular poem for example. There's a book called A Course in Miracles and one is supposed to do exercises where one repeats an idea so many times a day. I couldn't do this but made poetry out of the phrases instead. While painting I would get a melody which would fit with the poem and spin out as I made it a song (I did this after painting but got the melody while paintint).

But art is always multidimensional, being able to synthesize characters that go with melodies or vice versa; or being able to allow movements space to express themselves with music: Characters and dance both have their visual part (unless it's an invisible character but that still has to be defined as to how it relates to light.

I do think the mind can make a connection with vibrational relationships between colors and between pitches though.

June 29, 2007 at 04:27 AM · Here is a listing of the wavelength of colors (nm = nanometers) from the fastest vibrations (shortest wavelength) to the slowest vibrations (longest wavelengths) in our spectrum. Twice the length of the shortest (380) is just past the length of the longest (750) so there does seem to be an octave relationship going on where twice the vibration of a color is still that color (twice the vibration of a note is still that note an octave higher). This would point out that there is a fixed relationship going on which might help the mind sort out pitches as well? Since we can't see the vibrations of colors higher or lower than this spectrum octaves would have to do with timbre? Anyhow, by analysing minute parts of the spectrum which are missing from a color (Timbre) scientists can tell what matter they are coming from (the harmonics of matter and thus time itself condensed in the experience of the Universe we call matter).

Anyhow, it's multidimensional

Purple 380–450 nm[

Blue 440–490 nm

Green 520–570 nm.

Yellow 570–580 nm

Orange 585–620

Red 625-750 nm

A nanometre (American spelling: nanometer, symbol nm) (Greek: , nanos, dwarf; , metr, count) is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a metre, which is the current SI base unit of length. It can be written in scientific notations as 1×109 m (engineering notation) or 1 E-9 m (exponential notation) — both meaning 1/1,000,000,000 metres.

July 2, 2007 at 07:50 AM · Since you're thinking about space-time, here's something that pertains to violin. If you're bowing, since your hand is traveling faster than your elbow, when the stroke is finished your hand is now displaced in time relative to your elbow by a small amount, since it was moving faster :) Granted, it's a tiny amount, could be calculated, but a tiny amount is no less boggling than a huge amount, right? Just maybe not as freaky looking :D

July 2, 2007 at 10:57 PM · Greetings,

how can this be applied to a viola section?

Cheers,

Buri

July 3, 2007 at 04:19 PM · "If it truly moves at the speed of time (so to speak), how could it be moving through air if all time would stop at it's speed?"

If time should stop (which is like saying "if I found a black shade of white"-- and time is required to pass during a stop... at least, as we know it. This would require defining a new unit by which to measure the duration of the stop, time prime (time', or primetime)...the derivative of time, the time of time, like the acceleration=velocity of velocity or velocity prime), you would not be in a state of consciousness (only while time has a velocity of 0 seconds per ... whatever you measure the seconds of time passing through chronology. It takes time to think, and you would not be able to think at a rate of x thoughts per y seconds if the y seconds equalled zero, representing no time velocity.

Anyway, if time ever stops, one of three things MUST happen, based on what we know, anyway. All of them will result in us not noticing it even the slightest bit, because physics and psychology can't disprove themselves:

A) The world will stop turning, birds will stop flying, clocks will stop ticking, electrons will stop revolving around nuclei, photons will freeze in midair such that, if you had the ability to remain conscious, you could pick them out with a microscope. Your neurons will stop moving, disallowing any perception or response. Time will start up again, you won't even notice anything has happened, as you stopped with the time.

B) The same as the above, except that time won't start back up, and no one will ever know that time stopped for the same reason, and also that they will never regain consciousness to come to that realization, even if they had noticed.

C) The world would keep turning, birds would keep flying, clocks would keep ticking, electrons would keep moving, photons would still be blurs under a microscope, and the atomic clocks that are always right would be wrong but keep moving. Basically the only thing that would happen is clocks would be wrong internationally. Neurons would continue to flow, so you would perceive all of this, but again, you would never know that time has stopped, since time would not affect the velocity of anything. Since there is no way to prove that time has stopped, in this scenario, nothing would change noticeably. Unless someone comes up with a more reliable "time"-measuring device than a watch, which obviously doesn't measure time, since it is operated by a gear rather than a force created by time, that is. Had there been a way to prove it, time would have been proven not to affect the velocity of anything, and physics books would have to be collected and rewritten to include measures of primetime as opposed to time.

By the way...did you know that time stopped yesterday? Yesterday in primetime, anyway, and today in time. Since we don't know in which of the three above ways it stopped, I can't tell you for sure what time it is...I may or may not be right. Sorry...I lack any evidence to convince you further...

July 3, 2007 at 05:31 PM · "Anyway, if time ever stops, one of three things MUST happen"

There's always another thing, which is what really happens. If time stopped, the c in E=mc^2 would become infinity which means energy in the form of matter would become infinitely large. Larger than Oprah's butt.

July 5, 2007 at 03:42 PM · That, or C would have to be redefined as the speed of light in meters per PRIME second-- a measure discluding time and using prime time instead.

July 7, 2007 at 06:08 AM · E=mc^2 only works for complete non movement!?

July 7, 2007 at 06:10 AM · If you are playing a Waltz and moving at the speed of light, what meter is it in? And how could anyone follow the conductor?

July 7, 2007 at 08:02 AM · I'm not sure what Rob's talking about but Jim's correct.

All this passage of time business is a matter of which reference frame you're in...and how fast you're moving relative to whatever the frame is you're measuring

July 7, 2007 at 08:30 AM · Interesting topic, and I have no doubt this phenomenon exists.

However, I see no evidence whatsoever that people who associate pitches or timbre with colors are in fact superior musicians. It's a very romantic & alluring phenomenon, but it does not mean that one's hearing or creativity are enhanced. It is simply a slight mis-wiring (for good or bad) in the brain.

Those of us who "only" hear music should not feel slighted!

Now, if I could only walk & chew gum at the same time, THAT would really be something...

July 7, 2007 at 04:56 PM · I would wager that a significant number of people taste music or feel it as a texture. Chocolate, honey, vanilla, treacle.

On the other hand, I've never heard of any piece of music described as being like toast, salad or broccoli -in other words anything vaguely healthy.

July 7, 2007 at 05:32 PM · "I've never heard of any piece of music described as being like toast, salad or broccoli -in other words anything vaguely healthy. "

You've opened up a whole can of worms ;)

July 7, 2007 at 05:51 PM · "I would wager that a significant number of people taste music or feel it as a texture. Chocolate, honey, vanilla, treacle."

I've never been able to put words on it: ether, effervescence.... It feels right however, that I just watched Heifetz and Friedman play 2mvt. Bach Double.

Image wise, the pop song "From a Distance" comes fairly close to where it takes me. Leaps in perspective as this, will address your second comment.

July 8, 2007 at 12:34 AM · Interesting thread.

It is worthy of note that, for all the discussion of sound/color synesthesia, the development of patterns was not discussed. Does no one see any grand colored three-dimensional architextures when listening/playing? I seem to recall a lot of this sort of thing during the course of some psychopharmacological inquiries into consciousness, decades ago.

July 8, 2007 at 01:18 AM · Scales are like broccoli, the taste of which depends very much on the way you prepare it.

Etudes are like salad: the more you eat, the more you like it. Too much of it will give you run.

Open string son file, plain good rice for me.

It's dinner time:)

July 9, 2007 at 03:14 PM · "If you are playing a Waltz and moving at the speed of light, what meter is it in? And how could anyone follow the conductor?"

3/4 until the conductor vaporizes. Then it doesn't matter if you're following him.

July 10, 2007 at 09:05 AM · I have seen several interviews with autistic savants who have incredible math abilities. These are the people (like Kim Peek, the basis of Dustin Hoffman's charater in the movie Rainman) who can perform extremely long math problems in thie r head in a matter of seconds. Many of them also report identifying numbers as colors (and some say they identify them as shapes also, I believe). Very interesting thread.

July 13, 2007 at 01:28 AM · "3/4 until the conductor vaporizes. Then it doesn't matter if you're following him."

Does it really matter whether there's a conductor or not as long as everyone tries to follow him?

July 14, 2007 at 09:29 PM · I suspect synaesthesia in one form or another is probably quite common. I think I possibly have some kind of synaesthesia. I feel sound in different parts of my body, depending on pitch, articulation, tone quality, etc, and have done for as long as I can remember. For instance, concert A is at the back of my elbows; short, high notes dance across the outside of my skull, specially round my temples; sixths sound inside my lower back. The feelings can be quite complicated, but they do seem to be consistent. And occasionally they can be quite unpleasant. Recently they decided to test the burglar alarm at work. It made the most horrendous wailing noise and the sound went straight through my eyeballs. Not nice. I also tend to see certain words as coloured. For examle, one of my friends' surnames is Jajdelski - what else could it be but yellow? Letters have colours and characters, too. For instance, 'h' has always seemed a little stand-offish to me. Stay away from 'h's, that's my advice.

Sadly, I don't think synaesthesia is necessarily indicative of great talent - I wish! I love music, but I'm only an average player. However, I've read that it tends to be accompanied by a lousy sense of direction, dreadful timekeeping and dodgy organisational skills. And guess what? That's me to a T...

Finally, here's my open strings colour-association pennyworth.

E - not yellow: pure, colourless light

A - red

D - blue (goes more of an electric blue when stopped with A)

G - black

July 15, 2007 at 02:20 AM · Wheen I take young chindren, absolute beginners to learn Violin, for the first few month time-to-time I give them a task to draw for me two pictires: they get to listen to the piece of 5-10min. for three times. For the first time they just listen; for the second - draw a picture of whatever they think the music is telling the story about; and for the third - they have to draw the FEELINGS as they appear, but on one condition: not to draw any existing physical objects e.g. flowers, trees, cars, dolls etc...

It is interesting that any dramatic major gets red/yellow/orange colours; high registers go with lighter colours, while lower register will appear in darkish, even black/purple/brown; minor will have colors of the sea from navy to light turtoise with green, while major is always in the red-yellow spectrum.

In J.J.Rousseau's (1712-1778) "Debates about Arts and Literature" in Chapter 16 he speaks quite critically of analogy of sound and colour. He briefly refers there also to the "famous clavecin (harpsicord) on which they where claiming to create music by using colours" - it existed before 1750, how about that?!

If I'm correct, that clavecin was build by Lui-Bertran Castel (1688-1757), who leveled 7 colours of the spectrum with the 7 steps of the musical scale.

I.Newton also had sertain ideas regarting spectrum = octave: C-violet, D-navy, E-blue, F-green, G-yellow, A-orange, B-red.

For those who are interested in colour + key here is comparison of tables of perception by

Skriabin vs Tchaikovsky:

Red(S) White(T) = C MAJOR

Orange(S) Brown/Golden(T) = G MAJOR

Yellow(S) Yellow(T) = D MAJOR

Green(S) Pink(T) = A MAJOR

Blue(S) Dark-blue(T) = E MAJOR

Light-blue(S) Navy(T) = B MAJOR

Navy(S) Gray-green(T) = F SHARP MAJOR

Violet(S) Dark/Warm(T) = D FLAT MAJOR

Purple-violet(S)Gray-violet(T) = A FLAT MAJOR

Gray/Steel(S) Gray-blue(T) = E FLAT MAJOR

as above = B FLAT MAJOR

Red(S) Green(T) = F MAJOR

Looking at the A & F Majors ... interesting reverse colour vision, isn't it?

July 15, 2007 at 08:34 PM · The type of synesthesia that associates color with music occurs when the neurons of the auditory cortex share reciprocal connections with the visual cortex, specifically the "V4 blob" region, which is responsible for color analysis. These interconnections are not present in the normal brain. The colors that synesthetes see actually appear in their visual field; it is not something imagined or felt. The colors they associate with particular notes or modalities are concrete, different for every synesthete, but always consistent.

July 15, 2007 at 09:15 PM · There's no such thing as a v4 blob region, and the people like you describe wouldn't be able to function in society.

July 16, 2007 at 12:23 AM · Actually it seems there is a "v4 blob region" if you "google" it. But I wouldn't google the v4 blob region too much - that can be dangerous. ;)

July 16, 2007 at 12:47 AM · Ok, so I'm not a brain surgeon.

July 16, 2007 at 04:40 AM · Jim,

There is such thing as the V4 blob region. It exists with five other blob regions. The scientific term for these regions is actually "blob." I don't know if your comment was meant as a joke, but you should acquaint yourself with the neuroscience literature before bashing on someone who is.

July 16, 2007 at 07:55 AM · I told you there's no such thing. Knock it off.

July 16, 2007 at 07:09 AM · Stick that in your v4 blob.

July 16, 2007 at 07:50 AM · Why don't they Latinize it to blobus?

July 16, 2007 at 08:09 AM · Or Americanize it to "Youblob".

July 16, 2007 at 11:20 PM · "Skriabin vs Tchaikovsky:

Red(S) White(T) = C MAJOR

Orange(S) Brown/Golden(T) = G MAJOR

Yellow(S) Yellow(T) = D MAJOR

Green(S) Pink(T) = A MAJOR

Blue(S) Dark-blue(T) = E MAJOR

Light-blue(S) Navy(T) = B MAJOR

Navy(S) Gray-green(T) = F SHARP MAJOR

Violet(S) Dark/Warm(T) = D FLAT MAJOR

Purple-violet(S)Gray-violet(T) = A FLAT MAJOR

Gray/Steel(S) Gray-blue(T) = E FLAT MAJOR

as above = B FLAT MAJOR

Red(S) Green(T) = F MAJOR"

Interesting!!! This holds true for me in certain keys for sure, and I can definitely say that I've always heard Handel Celebration (G Major) as golden orange. Hungarian Dance No. 5 (d flat major) has always been blue. (But then, the timbre produced by the open D string almost rhymes with "blue.")

July 22, 2007 at 06:34 AM · One person says that synesthesia is from a "miswiring" in the brain, the other says it's from a blob because neuroscience knows so much about it that their knowledge does absolutely no good unless the brain would be frozen solid so one could measure E = MC squared (which only works with completely non movement and moves energy up to infinity when the speed of light is reached which evidently is not moving at all either).

In fact I am quite sure neuroscience doesn't know at all where synesthesia comes from, whether it is a preferred connection the brain makes at an early age depending on personality (And I believe there isn't one person alive on this earth who because of their Uniqueness doesn't have something or other not found in "normal" brains: in short there is no such thing as normal and society is based on a delusional matrix which is called harmony and that can never exist: there IS no such consitency) or whether synesthesia comes from a miracle of harmony which science can only call an "abnormality."

I do know that the brain can rewire itself after all sorts of damage done to it (by psychiatry or neuroscience even as well as physical accidents and such). Perhaps synesthesia is a reaction to that one moment of time frozen forever in which the scientists are trying to terrorize everyone into believing is where all safety comes from because then e-motions have stopped. Perhaps there IS light in the sound of emotions reaching out to evolution and explaining life. I don't think it comes from on little blob nor to I think that there ever will be a true form of plastic surgery where you can have your blob fixed to compose like Scriabin thanks to neurosurgery......

And when it supposedly stands still and something moves a hand right through it to pluck out what was getting in the way of evolution, it's supposed to be impenetrable and that never happened, never could happen and society need a police state to arrest such a nonsense that the human or animal body didn't come into being from being terrorized into proper belief or behavior being imprisoned in jails or tested in laboratories.

Is there such a thing as a word when it has no meaning, refers to nothing and imagination can't even make it come to life because it's supposed to stand still and adhere to scrutiny.

And now what I just wrote doesn't exist either.

July 23, 2007 at 06:12 PM · "I do know that the brain can rewire itself after all sorts of damage done to it (by psychiatry or neuroscience even as well as physical accidents and such)."

Maybe the people who get harder blows to the head see more colors. It only comes naturally for me on a couple of notes. I was hit in the head with a chandelier as a baby, so maybe the people who see colors for all the notes were hit in the head by a train. Can I get a testimony?

July 26, 2007 at 04:18 AM · "Maybe the people who get harder blows to the head see more colors. It only comes naturally for me on a couple of notes. I was hit in the head with a chandelier as a baby, so maybe the people who see colors for all the notes were hit in the head by a train. Can I get a testimony?"

I assume that you probably don't know that it's possible the train would perhaps have to be going faster than the speed of light?

Also, when people say it rains, although train and rain have four characters in common, trains are most likely not going to fall from above as rain usually does.

I wouldn't try the chandelier thing again okay! Standing under such devices hoping to recieve revelations is more it seems something akin to adults not to babies. Newton, if I may remind you, was hit by an apple NOT by a chandelier. I do not believe that damage is necessary in order to see something. Of course as happens in society, you somehow lost sight of your instincts. If you look back in time to that point, you might find out that you were behaving in way too adult of a manner to truly be yourself as an infant. As to whether removing your inner child out of reach of the falling chandelier will bring you to a full color spectrum awareness with music, I cannot say. but, it is worth a try one would think. Ofcourse, if you are addicted to being hit by falling debris, you might try looking further than just that one incident.

Regards,

Fall is on it's way or has it come already?

Yes it's true, as the story goes, Jesus had to be tortured to death in order to dissapear and reappear and such. However, I really don't believe he did it in order to manipulate a scientically verifiable effect on his physical body and was quite aware that he would die. Hoping to be hit by a train to achieve synesthesia, waiting for it to fall from above and not measuring the speed necessary to alleviate damage, this is not in the same "train" of thought as such phenomenon. In such a case the first "train" is likely to be ONE train too many.

July 26, 2007 at 04:34 AM · The Child's faith is new —

Whole — like His Principle —

Wide — like the Sunrise

On fresh Eyes —

Never had a Doubt —

Laughs — at a Scruple —

Believes all sham

But Paradise —

Credits the World —

Deems His Dominion

Broadest of Sovereignties —

And Caesar — mean —

In the Comparison —

Baseless Emperor —

Ruler of Nought —

Yet swaying all —

Grown bye and bye

To hold mistaken

His pretty estimates

Of Prickly Things

He gains the skill

Sorrowful — as certain —

Men — to anticipate

Instead of Kings —

(Emily Dickinson)

July 26, 2007 at 06:55 PM · lol, Roelof. Actually my mom was tossing me in the air and hit the chandelier with my head. Broke the chandelier, but not my head. You have a wonderful sense of humor, by the way.

December 21, 2011 at 10:47 PM · Dear Friends,

I think you may like an essay I did on Itzhak Perlman's synesthesia. I'm a synesthete and journalist myself. Please also see my book on synesthesia, Tasting the Universe.

http://www.theadirondackreview.com/MaureenSeaberg.html

Maureen

December 21, 2011 at 11:08 PM · Lol

The only colours i see when i play music, is how i highlighted each note to have a certain colour to help me with sight reading

E = yellow

A = Pink... Ect...

December 21, 2011 at 11:59 PM · Here's an interesting invention where they matched light frequencies with sound frequencies to help people who only see in black and white.

http://www.colourlovers.com/blog/2008/07/22/hearing-color-neil-harbisson-cyborg

December 22, 2011 at 12:00 AM · I have read several of Oliver Sacks books in which he describes synesthesia...of note (pun sort of intended) is his book "Musicophilia"

I tend to have some associations of color with music, as does my son...and my daughter thinks we are both nuts! I associate days of the week with colors too.

The colors, which are also sort of shapes, happen when I am listening, but not when I am playing. And it's subtle, not "Dark Side of the Moon" at IMax or anything...

Anyhow, that is my two cents...

Cool subject, Buri!

December 22, 2011 at 02:24 PM · I am one of those people who sees the colors. During my first 8 months of violin lessons, I placed the music on the stand for effect, but simply watched my instructor play and imitated the colors he produced. Think of a slowed down game of Simon.

Around 8 months, he pointed to the middle of the page, and said,"Start here." I was busted. I had no clue what the note was.

Now, my instructor plays a piece with me looking away.

As a point of interest, Marche Slave is particularly beautiful to watch. Finlandia is horrific to look at.

---Ann Marie

December 22, 2011 at 02:42 PM ·

December 22, 2011 at 07:04 PM · Years ago, I owned a small book entitled Marcotone system, published around 1900. Pages were printed with the exact color and hue that each note was "supposed" to represent for each pitch. The system was devised to develop perfect pitch-- you only have to imagine the color, and you would apparently hear the correct note through association.

I didn't spend too much time trying it as I preferred the music in its natural state-- as sounds instead of colors. I'll leave impressionistic visions to the artistry of Debussy, Sibelius and Vaughan Williams.

December 23, 2011 at 12:45 AM · I don't know if this is quite the same thing as many others have talked about, but I don't usually literally see colors popping up as much as I am reminded of them - sort of color by analogy. This happens to me mostly by a specific instrument, and sometimes more specifically, a string and a particular note on a string. To me, I may hear a red-blooded sound here, a golden or silvery sound there, citrus-like (color plus flavor!) somewhere else. And it's pretty consistent. The basic timbre of one of my violins somehow goes perfectly with the deeply-tinted shade of the boxwood fittings!

December 25, 2011 at 09:10 PM · Just seen this. I've always- as long as I can remember- had colours when I hear music, and weirdly I only found out about two weeks ago that not everybody does this. Every key has a colour and I see it like a coloured firework going off just out of my field of view, if that makes any sense. Pure pitches have their own colours each associated with their pitch, but also tones and timbres of music have colours too. I always assumed it was the job of the musician to blend both sounds and colours so that both were pleasing to the audience. Like I say, I just always assumed it was what everyone did- after all, why would you think any different? Also I used to sit next to a girl in orchestra when I was a kid who I guess also had it, as we used to argue (good-naturedly!) about the colours of certain keys/tones etc, so that just confirmed it as 'normal' to me (although people don't see the same colours, I do know that. D to me is a lovely emerald green but she always maintained it was red).

It wasn't until I was talking to my violin teacher about a piece I was playing... I got to a high level on another instrument so taking up the violin as a beginner is like not being able to use your voice any more. Sort of frustrating. I was getting cross with myself, he asked why and I said 'because it's blue but I can't get it the *right* blue.' I just could not produce the colour was hoping for in my head- the one that should accompany the piece how I interpreted it, how I wanted it to sound, how it should sound with the chords in the piano. He told me I had this synesthesia, we Googled it... and apparently, yeah, I'm a freak! But it doesn't seem that way. If most people don't have colours then... well, that must be really weird.

Reading down the article we found, I learnt I also have lexical-gustatory synesthesia, which again I just always assumed was normal, but I don't do the number personalities or days of the week ones.

Anyway, only popped on to say Merry Christmas, so... Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2011 at 10:01 PM · I don't see keys as colors, directly or by analogy. But I do hear them as usually being brighter in sharp keys and darker in flat keys. But what of enharmonic notes and keys? Lila - do you see a different color for Gb than for F#? It's true that we can make subtle changes on the violin - but they are exactly the same notes on the piano.

December 25, 2011 at 11:32 PM · No, totally different. G flat is lilac but F sharp is sort of lemony/limey. It has to be a really pure tone though. If I'm listening to a note on a violin, or a whole orchestra for instance, there are so many other colours it could take from the texture of the note. It might be a harsh G flat, or a delicate one, or a vibrato can alter the colour like a flower opening up inside the old one. I'm really sorry, I don't know how else to explain it. My 'tone' colours are much, much stronger than my pitch colours- I can't use them to 'cheat' perfect pitch because of this, except with a very 'bland' tone (again, can't explain but if I'm ever next to you when I hear one I'll point it out), when I can get it spot on from what I'm seeing. Otherwise the tone colours will just get in the way!

Also, a chord is not necessarily a build-up of, say, three different 'pitch' colours. Some have their own colour, some colour a phrase by their relationship to the chords either side of them. I wonder if I heard my 'bland' tone chords it would be? Maybe I should investigate. Anyway, I'm grateful for this as otherwise pianos would be boring.

One thing for certain though- it's not a colour I 'imagine' or feel. I can see it- it's actually a physical thingummy that appears to me. I can't imagine them not being there.

I wonder- would I still get them if I went blind? Anyone know?

December 26, 2011 at 12:11 AM · Of course you would.

December 26, 2011 at 02:21 PM · Lila - very interesting. But what about enharmonics on the piano? As to your last question, let's hope that you never need to find out!

December 28, 2011 at 05:36 PM · Yes Lila, I remember as a child putting my mother's classical records on and sitting back and watching the light show. I see them front and center though, not off to one side.

--Ann Marie

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