Synesthesia is a rare neurological condition that causes “crossed stimulation” to occur, resulting in an involuntary pathway. According to Psychology Today, 5 percent of the population is impacted. There are also 60 different type that has been reported.
One specific version of Synesthesia allows for the individual to see music as color. The following famous personalities have stated that they have experienced sensations in the past.
- Tori Amos (Singer/Songwriter) – Amos once stated that “The song [Piece by Piece] appears as light filament once I’ve cracked it. As long as I’ve been doing this, which is more than thirty-five years, I’ve never seen a duplicate song structure. I’ve never seen the same light creature in my life. Obviously, similar chord progressions follow similar light patterns, but try to imagine the best kaleidoscope ever.”
- Rollo Armstrong (Producer/Mixer) – Armstrong stated that he’d seen broad strokes, textures, and colors when hearing music.
- Amy Beach (Pianist/composer) – Beach said to have seen colors associated with certain keys. She also related certain melodies to colors.
- Mary J. Blige (Singer/ Songwriter) – Blige told LA Confidential “I have that condition, synesthesia. I see music in colors. That’s how my synesthesia plays out.”
- Alessia Cara (Singer/ Songwriter) – Cara associates music with color and words with taste.
- Jack Coulter (Artist) – Coulter informed The Independent, “My visual interpretation of ‘sound’ within musicality is presently stimulated when I am soulfully, aesthetically and perceptively immersed within a specific musical composition or piece of music.”
- Duke Ellington (Composer/Pianist) – Ellington was quoted as saying in Don George, “I hear a note by one of the fellows in the band and it’s one color. I hear the same note played by someone else, and it’s a different color. When I hear sustained musical tones, I see just about the same colors that you do, but I see them in textures. If Harry Carney is playing, D is dark blue burlap. If Johnny Hodges is playing, G becomes light blue satin.”
- Pharrell Williams (Hip-Hop Producer/Artist) – During a Nightline interview, he stated, “It just always stuck out in my mind, and I could always see it. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I could always visualize what I was hearing… Yeah, it was always like weird colors.”
- Charli XCX (Singer/ Songwriter) – Charli informed BBC, “I see music in colors. I love music that’s black, pink, purple or red – but I hate music that’s green, yellow or brown.”
- Lorde (Singer/ Songwriter) – Lorde has been quoted saying that she sees music as color.
A neurological condition that allows someone to see music in shapes and colors or smell textures or touch colors.
Weird, right? Not necessarily. Approximately, 1-in-93 people have some form of synesthesia. Artists with this neurological condition have used it as a device to enhance their music and art.