You are lying on your bed. Lights are off. Headphones on. Your head is filled with sound. You can almost see the music.
Well, for some people, nearly 4% of the population, this is a reality. The condition is called synaesthesia.
The experience of colour as we usually understand it is a visual one: objects have colour, artists use colour, and we can recall a colour in our mind’s eye. But for some people, colour is a more multi-sensory affair, linked to sound, texture, taste or shapes. Music has a hue – like the parping of a trumpet that evokes a shower of burnt orange. Numbers, letters and days of the week have their own shade: the number one is white, the letter L is blue and Monday is red.
This neurological phenomenon is called synaesthesia; if you don’t have it, it sounds strange, like the straining of an overactive imagination. But if you’re part of the estimated four per cent of the population who are synaesthetes, such descriptions are as obvious and natural as the sky being blue and the grass being green. Synaesthesia is best described as a union of the senses; one sensory experience involuntarily, and consistently, prompts another. There are up to 70 different types – from tasting the time to smelling a symphony – although the most common involve colour.
Read more about this here.