Synesthetic Musician Sees and Tastes Tones

Classic Arts News   Synesthetic Musician Sees and Tastes Tones
 
A Swiss musician may have the most advanced case of synesthesia ever studied, Agence France-Presse reports.

The 27-year-old professional musician has been recruited for a year-long study by neuropsychologists at Zurich University, who believe that the synestheisa attunes the musician to pitch and has helped her music career.

Like other people who experience this phenomenon, musical notes cause her to see colors; F-sharp makes her see violet, and C makes her see red.

The musician, who remains anonymous and is known simply as ES, also has a much more rare form of the phenomenon: she experiences different tastes when she hears different tones and tone intervals. A minor second is associated with sourness, a major second induces bitterness, a minor third is salty, and a major third is sweet.

Different tones also cause her to experience the tastes of water, both full-fat and low-fat cream, grass, and "disgust."

To test ES's associations, the researchers conducted a test that involved putting a certain flavor on her tongue and having her indicate the tone on a computer keyboard. According to the report, she responded with "perfect accuracy" and faster than non-synesthetic musicians.


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