color of sound – an introductionJanuary 18 | 2014
the title might sound to you like LSD trip gone wild, but while the effects wear off after a while, some people experience this naturally and continuously. It is called synesthesia, a physiological condition that allows to perceive a stimulative input with at least two senses at the same time. There are many types of synesthesia, the most common one where individuals experience numbers and letters shaded or surrounded by colors. For more information, check out what has to say on this matter, it’s worth looking into.
now, you might have guessed that since I’m writing on this, that I’m affected in some way. I am indeed, but I wasn’t aware of it for many years. Ever since I can remember, I have always had seen funny colors and shapes whenever hearing sounds. I have assumed that all people experience the same. It took me a while to get why people would give me some weird looks whenever I mentioned it, which meant that they can’t relate to me in any way. My next best explanation was my visual impairment, but I still got some funny reactions on this. Then, a hint from my teacher that I might have a condition called synesthesia and that it’s something rare. That was the moment though, when I decided to keep it to myself, since now I realized how many people have thought that I have lost my mind. It took another amount of years from there, till I was comfortable enough to talk about it again.
many people often ask me, what do the sounds I see actually look like. Being a designer/artist comes handy and I am able to visualize it with the best precision possible. However, before I show some examples, I’d like to clarify a few crucial misconceptions. I noticed that many people see synesthesia as some kind of associative process, where colors are being attached to the expressed emotion in a song or voice. This is never the case. The colors are appearing without any cognitive intervention or association. They just pop out of the blue, if you will, and they move and change according to the sound range. I could attach some emotion to the color afterwards if I wanted to, but it often conflicts with each other. It happened many times, where a supposedly sad song appeared to me in the brightest colors, so I don’t really pay attention to lyrics or how sad or happy the melody is. I do however decide by the colors, whether I like a song /voice/sound or not.
enough words, time to see some images: