Tag Archives: music perception

Making music with brain waves

Imagine that you have been singing all your life.  You’re not a professional, but you sing with the elementary school students in your fifth-grade class, you conduct a church choir, and you’re good.  You have a nice voice, you can sing in tune and finding the right pitch is never a problem.  Suddenly one day, everything changes.  You can no longer find the correct pitches for a familiar song.  You can hear them in your mind, and you can hear that you are singing not only out of tune, but hitting totally wrong notes – but you can’t fix it.  You’re bewildered about what’s happening, and panic sets in. Continue reading

Seeing sounds, hearing colors, part II

Imagine if you saw a color whenever you looked at someone’s face, and different faces were different colors.  Or tasted eggs when you heard the word “fax.”  Or saw a mental map placing any number you saw or heard in a certain location in space (as in Number formthe image at the left, called a number form).  Or had a bitter taste in your mouth when you heard a major second and a salty taste when you heard a minor third. These are all forms of synesthesia, the involuntary physical experience in which a stiumulus to one sense automatically triggers a sensation in a second or even third sense.   Continue reading

Seeing sounds, hearing colors, part I

I have often asked a student “what color does this movement (or excerpt, or chord progression) suggest to you?”  Color becomes a metaphor for sound – an additional tool for accessing the emotional content of the work, because most of us (even if unaware of it) associate colors with emotions – lighter colors for happiness, darker colors for sadness.   After all, babies, those bundles of happiness, are usually not wrapped in navy or black blankets.  Continue reading