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Food For Thought: Synesthesia

Recently, I started my first semester working toward a bachelors in music. In my music theory class, my professor mentioned something that has now taken over my world. He told us about something called synesthesia. I had no idea what he was talking about. When he explained, I immediately had a mind blowing moment. Synesthesia is a neurological condition that bridges sensory pathways. To put it simply, imagine hearing the doorbell ring and hearing it triggers you to taste strawberries. It’s blending your senses.

I had been amazed that there was a small part of the population other than myself, that had this perception. Being a musician, I’ve always learned seeing music in color. Personally, when I hear certain notes, I see colors. Now you may be thinking, “That makes a lot of sense, how do I know if I have it”. About 4% of people are subject to this condition, so think of everyone you know with a peanut allergy and put them in a room with about 100 people. Most humans have a mild case of this which is why it’s a tangible concept.  If you remember back about 4 years, you remember the unanswered question, “ what color is this dress?”

You would hear, Black and Blue and then someone looking at the same picture would look at them like they were crazy and say it’s clearly Gold and White! This is similar response most Synesthetes would have listen to the same tune. So click on the video clip below and let’s see, what color do you hear?

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