What color is music?
Newton’s color theory famously fell apart when he attempted to link the colors of the spectrum with the Dorian scale of music. Or, maybe he suffered from a rare undiagnosed neurological condition called synaesthesia.
Do you hear a word or a name and instantly see a color? If so, you may have a rare condition called synesthesia. Synaesthesia is the condition the causes your brain to process sound as color, taste or smell.
Synaesthetes do not actively think about their perceptions; they just happen. And rather than experiencing the vision of the color in the “mind’s eye,” synaesthetes sees the colors projected outside of the body in the physical space.
Estimates for the number of people with synaesthesia range from 1 in 200 to 1 in 100,000. But there are probably many people who have the condition but do not realize what it is. Two famous entertainers that have the condition include Pharrell Williams and Mary J. Blige.
The writer and performer of ‘Happy’ said he’d be “lost” without synaesthesia: “It’s my only reference for understanding. I don’t think I would have what some people would call talent and what I would call a gift.
The ability to see and feel [this way] was a gift given to me that I did not have to have. And if it was taken from me suddenly I’m not sure that I could make music. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it. I wouldn’t have a measure to understand.”