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Topic: Synesthesia

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  1. #1

    Synesthesia

    Take perfect pitch to the next level, and you get a form of synesthesia. A person with this condition translates one sense into another. The following story is about a woman who sees colors associated with different pitches and keys.

    She mentions not being able to stand being in a room because it was painted in colors that represent a tri-tone.

    Franz Liszt, Alexander Scriabin, and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov were apparently synesthetes. I have read about other composers who were able to "see" their compositions.

    To hear the full story, click on the "listen" icon.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=4602748

    I wonder, is it possible to learn to synesthese?

    -JF

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Synesthesia

    Ever drop acid?

  3. #3
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    Re: Synesthesia

    > I wonder, is it possible to learn to synesthese?

    I have a couple of friends who are synesthesiacs. They consider a horrible curse.

    There's no "off" switch.

  4. #4

    Re: Synesthesia

    There was a guy at Berklee when I was there who wrote a piece called 'The Purple Song' - with parts in purple ink. We all laughed, but maybe we shouldn't have.

    Another time someone sort of scolded me for lacking the sensitivity to understand how colors relate to music (i.e. describing the emotion of a cue by identifying its color). I found that rather curious, actually, but this may have been what he was talking about. He'd worked with Joni Mitchell, who he said talks in these terms.

  5. #5
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    Re: Synesthesia

    When'd you go to Berklee? I have an old high school friend who's on the faculty, David Clark.

  6. #6

    Re: Synesthesia

    I was there '79 - '81.

  7. #7
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    Re: Synesthesia

    Supposedly, the famous sound engineer Bruce Swedien hears sounds as colors, and can tell when a mix is off if the colors aren't right...

  8. #8

    Re: Synesthesia

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    ...Franz Liszt, Alexander Scriabin, and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov were apparently synesthetes. I have read about other composers who were able to "see" their compositions...
    Also Messiaen. He wrote about how he once had to leave a ballet performance because the color scheme on stage was predominantly yellow, while the music was in G major, which, according to him, clashes horribly with yellow.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  9. #9

    Re: Synesthesia

    I always associate colours to the sounds I'm hearing.

  10. #10

    Re: Synesthesia

    Quote Originally Posted by Nayi
    I always associate colours to the sounds I'm hearing.
    I think that's pretty common, at least to me, but do you let this influence all musical choices you make?

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