What does our mind sound like?

Music makes us feel things. I am not introducing anything novel when I say that, but the ‘how’s and ‘why’s of that idea still remains to be fully understood. Albert Einstein once said-


If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

It is 0 percent necessary to be the genius of the century to be able to feel music and rhythm. We all instinctively groove, manipulate and create music to our own liking. The rhythm we maintain while we walk is music, the way we write, the way we move, everything is music if one tries to see it that way.

Another celebrated old white man, Nietzsche, once wrote “We listen to music with our muscles“, which simply means that our bodies involuntarily or voluntarily engages in a dialogue with the auditory signals we receive. That wasn’t very simply put, but the crux of the idea is – we shake that booty with that beat.

There are some music-specific neurological states which are endlessly fascinating, for example, Chromesthesia, a kind of sound-to-color synesthesia where when you hear a sound, it makes you experience a color with itself. Kinda like the ‘Blues’, but a little severe. What is interesting to notice here is that all the studies till date have shown that sounds which are on a higher pitch are associated with lighter and/or brighter colors, like yellow, by both synesthetes as well as the rest of us regular numb-nuts. Similarly, the lower pitched sounds are associated with more darker shades. There is an obvious commonality in how our brain perceives sound and color which you may philosophize over tonight.

Neil-harbisson-1Another direction adopted through technology saw Neil Harbisson, who is color-blind, attach a device on his head which translated the colors he saw into sounds. Considered to be the World’s First Cyborg, he describes it as an “extension of my senses” in his TED talk.

“Going to an art gallery, I can listen to a Picasso, for example. So it’s like I’m going to a concert hall, because I can listen to the paintings. And supermarkets, I find this is very shocking, it’s very, very attractive to walk along a supermarket. It’s like going to a nightclub. It’s full of different melodies.”

Synesthesia isn’t only associated with color and sound, but all other senses as well- vision, taste, touch, smell etc. Oliver Sacks believes Synesthesia “is an immediate, physiological coupling of two sorts of sensation.”, he also said “no two synesthetes will ever agree”. Thus, allowing for a role of subjectivity in this musical experience