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What It’s Like to Have Synesthesia

As far as I know, I see music in a different way than other people do. At least, my brain does. 

I am a synesthete, a person with the brain condition Synesthesia, a condition in which the normally separate senses are not separate.

In short, it means I hear music as colors, words as tastes, and feel smells. There’s a bunch of other things that I can do, but that’s how most of it works.

So what’s it like, to be a synesthete?

Frankly, there really is no straight answer to that question, since this condition is already very rare, and every synesthete is different. But the way I would describe it, is like a colorful and breathtaking sensation, listening to music, I mean.

Like if I were to listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, the colors would most likely be blues, greys, whites, and blacks, the colors of the night. When the music starts playing, I close my eyes, and relax my mind. Let the colors swirl in my brain, and move accordingly as to the music. Like when the beat drops, it could drop. And when the music gets louder, it gets bigger. When the music fades, it fades.

And that’s how it feels like…sort of. 

Now, I know you were expecting a bit of a more descriptive explanation of it, but there really is no easy way to put it in words. But apart from that, I think that you could also feel that sensation, or at least, imagine it. Because even if you’re not a synesthete, you don’t have to be able to imagine such an experience for yourself while listening to music. So feel free to try it out, and just read the sixth paragraph (from the top) if you don’t know what to do.

And that brings us to an end, friends. You have reached the final paragraph, so let us take our leave, and keep in mind that there can always be color in music, even if you don’t have synesthesia.

– Emma Yan

Oclef Student – Power of Music

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