Music and Colors | Teen Ink

Music and Colors MAG

May 22, 2010
By Olivia-Schultze SILVER, Houston, Texas
Olivia-Schultze SILVER, Houston, Texas
9 articles 16 photos 1 comment

I have an image of a girl with ponytails sitting on the couch listening to her little brother play the Twinkle variations. That girl was me. I would take out my twist-up crayons and begin to color each note, occasionally singing the pitch. Anything related to the D string usually corresponded with a shade of blue, the G with purple, the A with green, and the E with red.

I still love to look at a piece of music and see all the colors swirl around in my mind. The sound they make is beautiful and clear. It is as if the rhythm is the wind blowing the colors thinner or thicker to darken or lighten them and mix them together. I often think of notes as stars; they burn with their color.

When listening to a friend play a piece once, I made the mistake of asking her to make a note a deep red with the texture of a brick. My friend gave me a confused stare, so I attempted to explain. A red brick note is rougher, slightly speckled with a deep vibratoed tone, all the while remaining melodic and pure on the E string.

While my explanation seemed perfectly reasonable to me at the time, I have since learned that not all musicians “see” music the way I do. I have worked to express what I mean through words in a much more effective way, although I am delighted when someone does understand what I mean through the use of color.

Ten years later, that girl who once enjoyed coloring her notes in order to make her teacher understand what she saw still imagines these colors flowing whenever she encounters music. This helps me relate to the music, memorize it quickly, play expressively, and learn the most from the repertoire. Everyone must have his or her own learning tools. Identifying the tones of music with colors just happens to be mine.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Sep. 30 2010 at 12:54 pm
thegreylady BRONZE, Wayne, New Jersey
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I usually enjoy reading about other people's experiences with synesthesia, and this was a beautiful story!