Is music a visual experience for you?...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by miko, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. :ninja:

    well, hopefully this won't get too esoteric or flat-out silly, but i'm wondering how you guys experience music, when you're playing it.

    i thought about this because of the stress i'm enduring at work, having to do some of the bookkeeping. numbers are very problematic for me, given my apparent dyslexia [symbol dyslexia; i'm fine with the written word]. apparently, people with dyslexia are visual learners, or visually oriented. this is certainly true for me with numbers. i perceive all numbers as pictures [eg; single-digit numbers are all seen as the dots on a domino square], have to count on my hands, and can't balance a checkbook to save my life.

    it's pretty much the same with music. i can read music, though not fantastically. but i like music a lot, so i keep forcing myself to get better at reading.

    however, when i play [even written music exercises], i consider the experience to be much more visual than aural. i mean, of course i hear the music, but as i play, i see it much more. everything is more or less a visual touchpoint. that's how i keep track of where i am in the song, and how i respond to the music. as an example, the bridge to a song may be a certain color, the crescendo may appear to be a sandstorm. each section of a song is a new target point i reach for, and the "scene" changes accordingly. likewise, i visualize note values, and consider the space they operate in rather than the length of time they take up.

    have i completely lost my rocker? i think not. this is a completely natural form of "hearing", in so far as i am concerned.

    if you can take this topic somewhat seriously, so much the better. i'm genuinely interested in your experiences.

    "a picture is worth a thousand notes"

    :cool: m
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    See the sentence below my user name.

    I'm not dyslexic. But I was exposed heavily to music since birth and experience it as colors and pictures. If I go to an art museum or gallery, I hear music as I see the art.

    Consequently, I HATE music videos but I miss the days when bands brought their own light shows with them. One of my old bands used projectionists for lights, strobes, colored oil cells and showed 1930's cartoons like Krazy Kat and Mickey Mouse in the background.

    I prefer my own mental images instead of those insipid ones thrust on the viewer by VH1 and MTV.
  3. they were a semi-underground prog "kraut" rock band in the 70s. they actually just got back together a year or so ago, which makes oldy von moldies such as me quite happy.

    anyhow, nektar's light shows were legendary. i believe the guy they used, larry "synergy" fast, went on to become quite the pyrotechnic/light-
    master for several other bands.

    i also like lighting effects and such. but i definitely think some of the images in my head when i play can be equally stimulating. :cool:

    now, does the fact that we see eye-to-eye on this topic mean that you no longer think my other thoughts are sad?;)

  4. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Music is always a visual experience to me. I see colors, shapes, and even sceneries (mountains, water, and space is the most popular for me), depending on the type of music I'm listening to (or playing).

    The downside is some music is hard to listen to sometimes because it thrusts hard orange and red colors at me or colors that are just pukey. It's hard to explain. Just like the hum inside my TV or lights can irritate me because I can see colors in the hum and frankly, because of my supersensitive hearing, it's plain annoying hehe :D.

    By the way, I found out what I have is called synesthesia. Very interesting thing to look into. There's so much more to it. :)
  5. I like to move to music if that counts? I like to watch my drummer beating his drums if I want to get a better feel for what he is doing. But all in all I think I work better at music by just listening and following it.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I saw them live as a supporting act for a band (I can't remember who the top bill was). But we were all nuts over Nektar's "Remember the Future." I really don't remember the light show so much....maybe they didn't bring it over for the tour I saw. Their album covers were gorgeous.

    Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" and Alice Cooper's "Billion Dollar Babies" tours knocked me out, visually (and a little LSD didn't hurt either :D ).

    I don't think any of your thoughts are sad. To me, you're just on a different plane of understanding that is denied to many people.
  7. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    I associate tunes with certain colors. For example, "Dancing Days" by Zeppelin has a green sound to it. "Uncle Remus" by Frank Zappa has a red sound.

    I have absolutely no idea why I make these associations. To be honest, I never gave it much thought until I saw this thread--I figured it was just a normal thing to do!

    Perhaps we should start a support group? :D


    wow, man -- i could hang with you for a few days on that one!

    nektar was one of the biggest musical inspirations of my life! i have every single album on vinyl, and they are remastering 'em all on cd. i just joined the nektar fan club after finding out they got back together. in fact, i just got an e-mail today saying they are planning a u.s. tour, and are looking for ny. venues.

    remember the future, recycled, tab in the ocean, live at the [venue? royal albert?], etc. etc. all such great stuff. i love that earthy sound of albrighton's axe.

    too cool.
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    A couple years after I started playing, I jotted down colors that I "heard" when I played songs in different keys. I have no idea where these associations came from... the weird thing is, the colors stay the same for the different modes, so for all I know I was imprinted by a toy piano (or maybe I was smoking too much pot). FWIW, here they are:

    A - red
    Bb - orange
    B - yellow
    C - blue
    C# - bluegreen (natch...)
    D - green
    Eb - brown
    E - black
    F - pink
    F# - magenta
    G - purple
    G# - greenish purple (i.e. unclear... maybe I've never played in this key. :D :D :D )
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I bought this book about the Fillmore East(A Photographic Memoir by Amalie Rothschild)...there are some props given to those in the Joshua Light Show. These artists were responsible for the psychedelic happenings behind the bands. Amazing that this was performed LIVE by these guys & gals. BTW, IMO, "performed" is the correct word, too.

    If you happen to see the new Allman Brothers DVD @The Beacon...there is a similar light show goin' on. It's automated, though.
  11. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I do this, as well. I've always associated intangible things with tangible images. Numbers, letters, and time, all had very specific visual associations when I was little. It's mostly gone, now, but I still think of time visually.
  12. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I've recently bought a nice light show for my band. Fourteen (will be sixteen soon) par 56 lamps, two small strobes, a big truss that holds 8 cans on the back, a fogger.....and we are also going to get some intelligent lighting sometime, when gig money starts rolling in soon.

    All this is to be controlled by me, onstage. I got an NSI programmable footboard, to control all the par cans, and another foot controller to run the strobes, and other effect lighting.

    Tomorrow will be our first gig out since I got this setup. I am sure it will take some adjusting to get used to playing, and doing lights, but it should be fun.

    Maybe I will post pics (if we get any) of this weekends gigs.

    Wish me luck, I am going to need it!
  13. Only


    Sep 8, 2002
    Warrensburg, MO
    Notes make me think of colors too...It's weird, there are some bands I can't stand to listen to in certain light. For example, Alice in Chains is so orange to me I can't listen to it except in the dark or under blue or green lighting, or I get a splitting headache from color overload.
  14. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    The great mathematician, Pythagoras, developed a mathematical code that related musical intervals to colors. His teachings have now found their way into a lot of new age philosophy.

    <quote><b>i perceive all numbers as pictures [eg; single-digit numbers are all seen as the dots on a domino square]</quote></B>

    This is similar to what Howard Gardner talks about with his different "Levels of Intelligences". He defines math/logic as an intelligence. Since your math/logic intelligence isn't as high as it should be, you use a better developed intelligence (in this case; your spatial intelligence) to compensate when solving math problems. Not saying that Howard Gardner is right, but it's something to really take a look at. (and is also the reason why I think IQ tests are BS)

    edit: mistyped "intelligence". That would have been ironic. :D