Jean Sibelius

Dublin Core


Jean Sibelius


Sound-color synesthesia


Jean Julius Christian Sibelius was born in Hämmeenlinna, Finland in 1865. He began learning music at a young age through violin and piano. Originally aspiring to a career in law, he took a music course at the Helskinki University conservatory and his passion for music convinced him to shift his studies to the conservatory. He was also passionate about Finnish independence from Russia and was involved in the independence movement. The Finnish state awarded him a lifetime grant in 1897, which allowed him to dedicate his life to composing. He is famous for his seven symphonies, among other musical works for chamber groups, violin, voice, and piano. His music portrays a love of nature, and its references to Finnish folklore were considered nationalistic. Recently scholars have begun to decipher revolutionary themes in his music. In 1940, Sibelius abruptly stopped composing and lived the rest of his life in relative isolation until his death in 1957. Sibelius had sound-color synesthesia and musical notes produced specific colors for him. Sibelius wrote that "Music is for me like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces" (New World Encyclopedia, 2008).


Synesthesia Digital Library



Jean Sibelius © 2012 Jon Stich


SDL 013




Synesthesia Digital Library, “Jean Sibelius,” Synesthesia Digital Library, accessed October 1, 2020,

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