134. Music and Colors!

In a study among a group of college students it was found that at least 15% of them imagined colorful images which made the music more enjoyable. The idea that there is a link between music and the color is a very old one.

The interlinking of senses is named as “Synaesthesia”. It is most common in the form of “color-hearing”, the involuntary perception of color by a person listening to music. It varies from person to person and is difficult to be measured or standardized.

Synaesthesia has been reported and supported by many scholars. Sir Isaac Newton believed that each of the seven notes in the musical scale corresponded to each of the seven colors in the spectrum. Whenever he saw a color, he could hear the note associated with it.

Newton’s Music and Color Theory states that the interval tone between D and E corresponded to Red, the minor 3rd to Orange, 4th to Yellow, 5th to Green, major 6th to Blue, minor 7th to Indigo and the octave to Violet.

Synaesthesia had wide appeal to artists and writers, as a source of metaphors. Famous composers have based their musical compositions on the beautiful art work of famous painters. Conversely, famous painters have derived inspiration from the musical compositions or the abstract idea of music.

To the neurologist, Synaesthesia remains an inexplicable and mysterious phenomenon. It is known that the information coming from the different senses are processed in different parts of the brain. The person who experiences Synaesthesia may have some kind of connections between these areas.

Drug induced “fusion and confusion of senses” may indicate that we all have such connections but under normal conditions they remain suppressed or inhibited.

The International Synaesthesia Association has its head quarters in U.K.

Visalakshi Ramani


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