coloured music

   Also referred to as music-colour synaesthesia. Both terms are used to denote a *chromatism (i.e. a hallucinated colour or coloured light) arising simultaneously with or in succession to a musical element such as a key, a bar, or a composition. Coloured music is classified as one of the many forms of * synaesthesia. The German psychiatrist Johannes Stein (1871-1951) describes a test subject in a mescaline experiment who saw colours corresponding to the tones of a flute: carmine red when an A was played, greenish yellow for E flat, a yellowish tint for F, violet for D, and blue and red for E. Although colour-key correspondences such as these tend to be consistent for a given individual over many years, interindividual correspondences have never been found. The first known description of coloured music comes from the Austrian philologist F.A. Nussbaumer, who in 1873 published an account of his brother's and his own experiences with this phenomenon since childhood. Two other historical figures who claimed to be familiar with coloured music are the Russian composers Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1906), and Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915).
   Harrison, J. (2001). Synaesthesia. The strangest thing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
   Nussbaumer, F.A.(1873). Ueber subjektive Farbenempfindungen, die durch objektive Gehörempfindungen erzeugt werden. Eine Mittheilung nach Beobachtungen an sich selbst. Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift,3, 52-54.
   Stein, J. (1928). Die Synästhesien.In: Handbuch der Geisteskrankheiten. Band I. Allgemeiner Teil I. Edited by Bumke, O. Berlin: Verlag von Julius Springer.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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