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Monday, September 28, 2009

Expreiencing more than music

Oh my God, It's got a name!

All my life I have experienced music in an unusual way. I tried to tell my mother, and later, a fellow piano student, but they just looked at me like I was crazy.
Soon I learned not to tell people, and at times I've hardly believed it myself.

But it's real, and it's called synaesthesia.

I see and feel music. It can get very intense. I experience the sounds, but it is so much more than that. Colors and shapes and textures, pounding and tingling and breath-stopping waves of sensations when the music is really good.

And there are other things, as well. There are things that happen with any vocalizations... including words. Oral speach is so hard for me to understand because I am so distracted by the way words look and feel. It's why I believe it's part of the reason I rarely use the phone. I get so much more from the sounds than just the words that are being said, and it's hard to determine which things I am intended to understand - which things the person is trying to convey.

I'm extremely excited. I had really given up on ever finding anyone who experienced music the way I do, but then, today, I got a clue from (of all things) watching an episode of "Heroes" with my kids. There was a new character on there tonight who could see music as shapes and colors. I caught my breath when this played out on my TV. I thought, could someone invent that who has never experienced it?

So I googled it. I found so many entries... and I found that it has a name. I'm not alone! Another secret - out there. I'm a synaesthete.


  1. Shen, how wonderful to finally find a name that described what you have experienced all these years! Oh my goodness, and you are not alone! I bet this was a relief and as you said you were excited to learn! I am happy for you dear one. You finally put a name to your experience. Blessings.

  2. I experience sound as color and shapes and such. I have known that others do for a while. I am glad you know you are not alone.

    I also experience numbers and math as colors and shapes. That is how I can come up with mathematical answers and not be able to explain how I get the answer.

    I see time in color and shapes it is how I remember what happened in what order. It is not correlated to time on a clock. It is relative.

    I sometimes see in gray scale. That is how I objectify some things and some people.

    I see distances and direction in color sometimes and sometimes it is correlated to numbers. I will say that is 38 3/4 inches and be correct. Volume the same thing.

    I can space things out evenly with out measuring. Take a bag of bulbs and they will be all planted in the space I have decided they will go. All equidistant.

    I see aura consciously if I get bored. I do not interpret them to any great degree consciously.

    I am headed out to a meeting with about 6 people on a $20,000 dollar problem. I will see who is lying although I will not know about what. I will see it.

    There is a thing called intuitive intelligence the ability to come up with the correct answer with incomplete information more often than is statistically possible. I do that with gray scale, colors and shapes.

    No I do not think I have special powers or anything.

    All plants are beautiful to me. The flower is just a show off is all.

    In my work I am often asked how I am going to solve something. The honest answer is I do not know I have not done it yet. Sometimes when I am done I do not know. That is just the way I am.

    Sometimes when putting I can see the ball going into the hole before I make the putt. I actually walk up to the hole to get it our before it stops rolling. Sometimes the hole will just not stop moving.

    I knew you "saw" in colors when I saw your art work.

  3. Thank you JBR, yes, it meant a lot to me to find out that what I've been experiencing is real. I have wondered if it was just another way that I escape inside my head... but it is real, and there is an actual physical reason why it is possible.

    Michael, You have a very interesting mind. My daughter is a neuroscientist and I talked to her a bit about this last night. She was telling me that there are countless variations on how neuro transmitters and connections are set up in the brain. As an infant, our brains are ready to make connections in every possible direction. The early stimuli we have and our own physical make-up determines how many of theses connections we make and where they are made. It makes sense that people with unusual early experiences would have unusual neural pathways.

  4. Congratulations, and welcome to the club.

  5. You too, Paul? huh. Strange coincidence or are these things linked?

  6. Music can be transformative. As can art. And talk. And writing. And there is a profound difference between listening to music and performing music. I am glad you get to appreciate all of this.

  7. i don't know if you've seen the film yet, but i think "the soloist" depicts what you're describing here also. it was a very powerful and beautiful movie. but might be disturbing to some people.

    how wonderful for you that you've found the name for what you have always experienced. i love when that happens. when you realize you're not alone or crazy after all :) i'm so happy for you~~

  8. thank you MMM :-) it is wonderful to know.

  9. Shen,

    I know much about an infants brain. At least mine.

    I could focus with both eyes at birth. It was like a birds vision. I expect as my brain hemispheres were very separate.

    I remember developing controlling my own body temperature rather than it being my mother.

    I feel and think that the concept of the brain developing is incomplete if looked at from a gain without loss. Something can be lost when one learns language and more can be lost when learning math and to read. Perhaps how evolution works.

    I find it interesting that the best golfer in the world watched his father hit balls in a cellar into a net over and over again before he ever went the a course and the second best is right handed and golfs left observed his father hit golf balls outside on a hole that was installed at the house where he grew up.


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