This nOde last updated December 17th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
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synesthesia also synaesthesia
1. A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.
2. A sensation felt in one part of the body as a result of stimulus applied to another, as in referred pain.
3. The description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another.
- syn´esthet´ic (-thèt´îk) adjective
"Franz Liszt, the19th century composer, pianist, and conductor, saw colors in his mind's eye when he heard music? He experienced a "rare phenomenon called color hearing, (in which) the senses become crossed and every musical sound is shadowed by colorful, formless visual imagery. And so, Liszt would instruct an orchestra, 'Please gentlemen, a little bluer if you please. This key demands it.'"
- Robert Jourdain - _Music, The Brain, & Ecstasy - How Music Captures Our Imagination_
"...it has to do with shamanism
that is based on the use of DMT
in plants. DMT is a neurotransmitter that, when ingested and allowed to
come to rest in unusually large amounts in the synapses of the brain, allows
one to see sound, so that one can use the voice to produce not musical compositions,
but pictorial and visual compositions. This, to my mind, indicates that
we're on the cusp of some kind of evolutionary
transition in the language-forming
area, so that we are going to go from a language that is heard to a language
that is seen, through a shift in interior processing.
The language will still be made of sound, but it will be processed as the carrier
of the visual impression. This is actually being done by shamans in the
Amazon. The songs they sing sound as they do in order to look a certain
way. They are not musical compositions as we're used to thinking of them.
They are pictorial art that is caused by audio signals."
-Terence McKenna - _Archaic Revival_
To some it is evident that every sound gives forth a color equivalent. Likewise, the vibratory movements of musical notes and phrases combine to express meaningful patterns or shapings, called archetypes, which reside in a superphysical field of thought and feeling. Both the colors and forms of music can be observed clairvoyantly. In addition, some persons "feel" the colors of musical works, and scientific advances have expanded to give us new directions toward demonstrating the colors of music. The Russian composer Alexander Scriabin envisioned a time when a cosmic color organ would reveal simultaneously the colors and formations of every piece of music as it was being played. The study of the relationship of color animation and sound is called synesthesia by some researchers, though the term implies relationships among other senses. I am sure this science will be developed further in our lifetimes. Both Leopold Stokowski, the famed maestro of symphony orchestras, and Walt Disney were interested in the combination of color and sound, and together they produced the great movie classic _Fantasia_, which is an animated union of color, music and movement, a dramatic representation of the energies released through sound and vibration.
The Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov, one of this century's few genuinely synaesthetic writers, shared with his mother the faculty of coloured hearing. In his autobiography _Speak Memory_, Nabokov describes the colours which the letter-sounds always conjured for him: "The long a of the English alphabet ... has for me the tint of weathered wood, but a French a evokes polished ebony. The black group also includes... hard g (vulcanized rubber) and r (a sooty rag being ripped)."
Well, what I discovered -- and I certainly wasn't the first to discover it -- in the Amazon in the early '70s, was the people in these tribal groups get together and they take Ayahuasca and their habit is to sing to make music, vocal music. They have no drums because in the Amazon the humidity is so high that no drum head could remain stretched more than a few hours. So the people use rattles and leaf shakers and vocal sound to produce what we would think of as beautiful tribal music. But what's interesting about this beautiful tribal music is after each performance, when you sit and listen to the people criticise the performance, they don't say that it sounded very good, they will inevitably make comments like 'I like the part with the silver bars and the blue dots, but I thought that the yellow could have been more intense, especially where it faded into the polka dot brown and grey section'. In other words, when you listen to these people in these native contexts criticise these performances, you realise that for them it's a visual performance, it's sound which, under the influence of these plants, is actually beheld, actually seen by the people within this culture.
- Terence McKenna - Camden Talks 6/15/92
In an episode of _The Simpsons_ Lisa trips and says "I can seeee the muuusic" with computer generated trails tracing her hands, "I am the Lizard Queen!!!!"