Synesthesia and Number/Letter Color Imagery
Synesthesia is the psychological phenomena where two senses share information. I believe that I possess this gift, as only a small percentage of the population share it. Nonetheless, as at least an aid in memory enhancement, I believe that the assignment of colors, which will correspond to respective notes in the twelve tone scale, can bring the musician that much closer to SuperSymmetry. I do not speak about "blue notes" or "color tones" here. I speak of a rather esoteric phenomena where my mind simply sees each note in a specific and recurring color. I do not have a reason why I see notes as colors; I just do. It is only after I had stumbled upon this amazing serendipity that I proceeded to do some research on the subject of Synesthesia.
Apparently, the left hemisphere of the brain is the zone of language, calculation and amount recognition. The right hemisphere stores number and shape orientation. For us musicians, I believe that it is absolutely possible to simultaneously integrate both sides. Think about the idea of replacing each chord symbol and the very idea of a chord with a color. Does your mind really negotiate color, at least on a conscious level? I do not believe so. The ear is ever developing. Why not push evolution along using the aid of colors? If we can see each note and/or chord color, can it be just possible to lessen the distance between thought and the improvised line? If we can see each note and chord as a color, than surely we can learn to *hear* each note as a color. Could this notion possibly be the gist of what SuperSymmetry in improvisation is comprised of?
(It is of interest to note that the harmonics in sound and the harmonics in vision (color) are the main elicitors of emotion, and it is emotion that forms the link between the two senses and affects the way we respond to wholes; emotion 'colors' or 'sets the tone' of a whole. In relation to the hemispheres so the left is black/white and the right is all color. For emotions so the left is known to be more 'gross' in emotional expression than the nuance-sensitive right.)
There appears to be evidence that the brain recognizes and catalogues numerical information, such as shape recognition, in regions similar to those dedicated to color processing.
Pythagoras had discovered the numerical ratios which determine the concordant intervals of the numerical scale. Briefly stated, the doctrine of Pathagoras was that all things are numbers. He also went as far as to say that each number had a "personality." Do not certain notes produce a familiar emotion? If numbers have personality, would it be possible that they also have color?
I have designed special exercises for assigning color to each note. First by teaching interval recognition and proceeding onward with scale usage for improvisation and also in memorizing tunes. This develops further into the practice of playing tunes in your mind without the instrument and seeing the changes and melody with improvisation all in colors; specific colors. This idea is not for everyone, however I do believe that this technique can bring the player one step beyond and closer to SuperSymmetry.