About 40% of synesthetes report some form of “colored hearing” also known as sound-color synesthesia, sound-to-sight synesthesia, or auditory-color synesthesia (Cytowic & Eagleman, 2009, p. 87; Robertson & Sagiv, 2005, p. 37). Many musicians have this form of synesthesia, including Eddie Van Halen, Itzhak Perlman, and Jean Sibelius. People with this form of synesthesia report a variety of experiences. Scholar Christopher Tyler reports, “If I pay attention to the chromatic quality of chords, I do have noticeable color associations with them” (Robertson & Sagiv, 2005, p. 39). Another synesthete described it this way, “When I listen to music, I see the shapes on an externalized area about 12 inches in front of my face and about one foot high onto which the music is visually projected…lines moving in color, often metallic, with height, width, and most importantly, depth. My favorite music has lines that extend horizontally beyond the “screen” area” (Cytowic, 2002, p. 15).
Sound-Color © Jon Stich 2012