There was a conversation about the idea of synæsthesia recently and when I did some reading about it, I learned that it’s actually a neurological disorder in which people add additional qualities to things like numbers and letters or, as the original conversation entailed, music. Some people actually see colours with certain songs or attribute specific letters or numbers as having certain colours or even personalities. I thought this was interesting as it reminded me of a frame of thought I had when I was younger.
When in elementary school, maybe even primary school, i associated certain letters as being “bad”, like the neighbourhood bullies. Of course, being letters, they don’t have mean personalities and they don’t beat up the other letters but thinking back, it was an odd thought that I had when I was 6 or 7. I called them the “bad boy letters.” Even now, I am still slightly biased against these letters: J K Q X Z, while W and V were borderline. X and Q were the worst offenders.
As for music, I’ve always attributed certain songs as being associated with colours, but it’s more along the lines of shades. When listening to songs, I sometimes think of them as having a specific colour. It’s not something I actively can form or think about though. Typically, certain genres of music can encompass a particular colour but that colour isn’t limited to one genre of music. For example, most rock songs tend to be dark brown, maybe black or some shade of grey depending on how hard it is. Metal music might most likely be black. Rap music can be a dark purple, black if it’s hardcore rap, or some sort of pink or lighter purple if it’s pop/rap. Folk and country is usually a pale green or brownish green with a cloudy yellow undertone if it reminds me of Sunday. Pop music can be yellow if it’s mellow but moves toward red the more of a beat it has, singer/songwriter music might be a shade of blue.
When I think about it, not every song is associated with a colour and I rarely think of it at all but at the same time it’s interesting. I do wonder if my listening habit is based on colours as well. I can’t listen to one kind of music for too long and while I don’t get sick of songs too quickly, I do get sick of particular genres of music and if there’s too much of what I’ll call ‘one colour of music’, I’ll get incredibly burnt out on it.
I don’t think I have this neuralogical disorder though. It’s certainly not hindering in any way nor do I really consciously think about it but it is pretty fascinating when I do think of it and then I wonder how common it might be.