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Can you taste music?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by dlloyd, Mar 14, 2005.


  1. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    Musical notes leave a taste on the tongue

    New Scientist, 05 March 2005

    What sounds taste like

    LIFE, according to pop band The Verve, is a bittersweet symphony. But for one Swiss musician who can "taste" sound combinations, the symphony is also disgusting, with a hint of mown grass and low-fat cream.

    The musician, known as ES, is a synaesthete, someone who experiences an involuntarily crossover between the senses for certain types of stimuli. But not only does ES see certain colours when she hears specific notes, which is quite common among synaesthetes, she also associates different pairs of notes, or intervals, with specific tastes (see Table).

    Lutz Jäncke at the University of Zurich and his team tested her abilities by placing different tastes such as salty, sweet, cream and even low-fat cream on her tongue. With the gustatory cue, ES was able to identify the correct interval faster than five non-synaesthetic musicians (Nature, vol 434, p 38).

    But while this helps her in the complex cognitive task of accurately identifying intervals, which is useful for transcribing music, there is a drawback - it affects her musical tastes. The more pronounced the tones and intervals the more vivid the tastes and colours are, ES says. So she prefers compositions without challenging harmonies, such as baroque music. Bach, she says, is particularly creamy.
     
  2. Gia

    Gia

    Feb 28, 2001
    roseability
    i can't taste music, but i do have mild synaesthesia.
     
  3. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    pitch = colours?
     
  4. Gia

    Gia

    Feb 28, 2001
    roseability
    certain notes played on their own have colours and genders.
    and numbers have distinct genders, and sometimes colours.
     
  5. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    That's interesting. What about intervals? Would a diminished fifth have a particular colour, for example? I'm curious about the origin of the term "blue note".

    When you say that notes have a colour on their own, is this specifically a pitch thing, or is it tonal?
     
  6. Gia

    Gia

    Feb 28, 2001
    roseability
    never had anything with intervals :(
    hmmmm, i guess it's more tonal.

    a = male and red
    e = female and green, but high e on a violin is male
    etc...
     
  7. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    I am so going to have to play with this idea.

    Is F# male?
     
  8. Gia

    Gia

    Feb 28, 2001
    roseability
    yes.
     
  9. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    And B is female?
     
  10. Synaesthesia is something I would really love to experience. Especially the Sound-Color connection is something that really intriuges me(not so much a connection with taste, that could be very limiting to my music collection).
     
  11. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    So uh... which note is the brown note?
    :bag:
    :crying: that was bad...

    Ray
     
  12. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    I've heard plenty of music that stinks
     
  13. Ericman197

    Ericman197

    Feb 23, 2004
    Iowa
    Do you have a source? I know of a few people who would be interested in this.
     
  14. Spectorphile

    Spectorphile

    Mar 8, 2005
    +1
     
  15. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
  16. Ely

    Ely

    Jun 8, 2001
    Huntsville, AL
    I see music as a three dimensional shape... But that's because of all the X...
     
  17. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    New Scientist 5th March 2005. The original article is in Nature, as referenced in the OP.

    There's even a table that lists the flavours. I did photocopy the article, but it seems to have made its way into my filing system, so that's the last I'll see of it.

    I vaguely remember minor seconds and major 7ths being bitter, octaves being flavourless, diminished 5ths being "disgusting"... I'll hunt it out.
     
  18. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    Well, a thread was started, but hardly exhausted.

    I played with the idea of pitches having "genders" for a while last night and thought for a while I could see (or hear) something in it. However, I found the attack of the note was more important than the pitch. Same with colours.
     
  19. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    the attack of the colors was more important than the pitch? :D
     
  20. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    Well, when the colours started attacking, everything else seemed unimportant :)