Reading My Way Around the World

Friday, 12 February 2016

Seeing music in colour

I was reading about a woman recently who sees music in colour.   I've often seen it in patterns, but never in colour.   She said that she chose a piece of music for her mobile phone because the colour of the song would match the colour of her phone.   Isn't that simply magical?

Her name is Melissa McCracken and this is one of her pieces... Such wonderful colour.
You can read more about her here.

The phenomena is called sound-to-colour synaesthesia or chromestesia and apparently quite a lot of people are like that - 1 in 3000 according to this article recently in the Daily Mail.

How about you?  Fancy taking this quiz and seeing how you fare?

Following on from my article about practicing, I'm still finding it a chore to sit down and do any consistent instrument practice - and weeks of a cold and laryngitis haven't helped.   However it feels like loads has been achieved already.   I'm still doing daily journalling ( on target to journal daily for a year) and it's giving me unexpected pleasures and aha moments.   And Colour is one of the most consistent ones that returns day in day out - this happens every time I write consistently.  Last time I did a long bout of morning pages, I painted the entire house bright colours.  I suppose it's natural to want colour during the dull days of Winter when everywhere we look we see blacks and browns and greys (thinking of my clothes' drawers with this!).

For years I've followed artists blogs and drooled at their beautiful work just to get some sunshine coming through my own computer screen.   I've taken a few courses and played with doodling and more recently with the very basics of art journalling - that's really liberating.  I'm not much further along than scraping paint onto a page, but oh what satisfaction it's giving me and everything feels clearer as a result.   For years I've fought this impulse to play with crayons and paints, but in the last few days I've finally decided to stop fighting it and just get on with playing:)
I wonder what the coming weeks of daily writing will bring?

How about you?   Any secret childish pleasures?


  1. How exciting - I took the test and appear "normal" - all my colours were in the higher areas too. When I listen to music I "see" dance performances often ice skating routines in my head - so I don't know what type of weird that means? I went to an art class last night and came back "buzzing" so didn't get to bed until the early hours of this morning! I think connecting back to childhood pleasures is an essential element to staying young and they bring such joy to our lives :) Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    1. You must have been a dancer in another life :) It's brilliant to let your imagination go with music - I sometimes see the notes coming out of the speakers - but I'm not often that relaxed any more when I listen to music.
      The art class sounds amazing - it's fantastic to get something that excites so much isn't it? The older I get the more I'm realising that I need those things to keep life interesting

  2. I will have a go later!!! Sounds great though. I met a guy who was working on a computer project to try and see what is on people's minds when they listen to music!!x

    1. Oooh it'd be interesting to see the results of that - I"m sure there's lots of weird and wonderful things that get released into our imaginations via music and art.

  3. Hi, dear Fil! I hoped your laryngitis was better, but I suppose it is not complete well :( By the way, between us (because I think people don't read comments) synaesthesia is something impressive and it happens to me to a certain extent. Words would have color, cities too, perfumes and tastes. It;s not only about color, but a good example. It just give another dimension to life, that sometimes confuses us, till we research and understand. I got to know it in 2005. By the way, go on drawing! I tell you, I am a person who needs challenges. So, singing is the one now, though I know I am just acceptable, not great. But knowing that I can't do it wonderfully, is the ignition to the challenge. Had I done what I know I can - but then seems so boring, because it's easy, I wouldn't be singing. I mean, you don;t have to draw, of course, but you may see how good you are - we will not be Botticellis, but good for our expectations, I guess :) Oh, a bit philosophical this evening :) Hope you are fine and that you have a great weekend!

  4. Hi Fil - I've been wanting to write about this for years ... I've seen lots about it - but it takes some explaining and I knew about music etc ... now your post is here - I'll come back to do the 'test' thingy ...

    .. and perhaps over the summer I can actually write up my thoughts on synaesthesia - as I've got lots of notes written up ..

    Cheers and have a happy weekend - Hilary

  5. Synaesthesia fascinates me. I 'see' words in my mind when people are speaking and for me certain words have a colour.

    I find the idea of seeing music in colour or words having a taste or texture fascinating.

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  7. This sounds very fascinating Fil.. I clicked over to her site and her colours are beautiful! I've never thought of music that way before. I hope you get to be feeling better soon. I know what that's like when you're trying to sing and just can't because of voice issues.
    It's always inspiring to me when people follow their hearts! How wonderful that you're going to paint and explore.
    As far as my secret pleasure, I too, am experimenting. Paper..paint..mixed media and I signed up for an Elements of Clay class. I will be learning to make objects of nature with paper clay. Here's the link to Jeanne Oliver Designs. They offer many classes in different mediums. It's a network of many opportunities and wonderful people! Best wishes for your artistic journey and thank you for the visit..

    Tamara <3


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