We are in a holiday season during which many of us will eat too much, so I have been quite delighted to discover that for one synesthete, a major sixth tastes like low-fat cream – as opposed to a minor sixth that tastes like regular cream, or a major third that tastes sweet. Don’t you love the idea of a low-fat musical interval!
Tom tells me that my voice is yellow when he speaks to me in person, but is a bright green on the phone. I’m not sure what I think about having a yellow voice, or even a bright green one. While I hear voices as lighter or darker, throaty, wispy, husky, gravelly, etc., and I may think conceptually of a color when I hear a voice, I do not actually see the color. But Tom, a wonderful tenor, good pianist and also former student of mine, has synesthesia, the condition in which a stimulus in one sense triggers a response in another. And he actually sees yellow when he hears my voice. Continue reading
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 the 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