What’s It Like To Hear Colors? – A VR 360° Synesthesia Experience


♫ music ♫ My name is Kaitlyn Hova. I’m a software engineer, neuroscientist,
and a musician. I also have synesthesia. Synesthesia is a blending of the senses. 1 in 23 people have a form of it. For me, when I hear,
specific musical notes, I see specific colours… …and these colours are much brighter…
at night. ♫ violin ♫ What you’re seeing in front of me,
is a lot like what I see …when I hear this music. ♫ violin ♫ Each one of these coloured
lights corresponds to a particular note The colours are always the same. ♫ violin ♫ I’ve seen these colours my whole life. But I didn’t know that was unusual,
until I was 21 years old. ♫ violin ♫ It was the final music theory course,
for my music major, that, at the end of my class,
my professor mentioned that some people can physically
see sounds as colours. ♫ violin ♫ And to me… I thought… duh… …and everyone in the classroom
turned to look at me. ♫ violin ♫ We did tests,
where they played notes on the piano …and I told them what colour it was… ♫ violin ♫ …and at that point I knew
that I had synesthesia. ♫ violin ♫ Synesthesia can manifest itself
in so many different ways. It can blend itself together
vision, taste, smell, sound… …it can be almost anything. ♫ violin ♫ But for me… it’s always been about
the colours in music. ♫ violin ♫ Synesthesia makes the music
a very visual experience. ♫ violin ♫ Now, listening to a piece
is sort of like watching a video. ♫ violin ♫ I can listen to it over and over again… …and focus on different colours and patterns,
each time. ♫ violin ♫ Now… if you turn to face the city…
(using arrows on top left corner of video) you can really step into my shoes,
and see what I see. ♫ violin ♫ I’m not sure what I would do,
if my synesthesia went away. But, I’m sure that the world
would look a lot different. ♫ violin ♫ ♫ music ♫


100 Responses

  1. CopiluMirific

    August 12, 2019 6:07 am

    I have this but for numbers. Texture, color and some senses that I do not know how to describe. My friends in class were like "what??"

  2. Audelia Althea Isa Valencia

    August 12, 2019 8:30 am

    Wait…….did Beethoven have synaesthesia? Cuz he was deaf…..yet he is one of the greatest music composers to ever exist

  3. Alean Kalista

    August 12, 2019 9:15 am

    This is absolutely beautiful! Green's been always my favourite colour and it's interesting, as I liked the 'green note' the most listening to this. It's funny how science/medicine has a special term for it as if it was something bad, but in reality it might be a next step of evolution (as those people have more senses, or the senses are blending together creating better awareness of the moment). I think it's beautiful.

  4. Awesome Gamer/Youtuber

    August 12, 2019 3:19 pm

    Person: Has synesthesia and epilepsy

    Music: I’m about to end this whole man’s career


    August 12, 2019 4:39 pm

    I just see a scene of a certain place i've never been before, like I automatically make up a scene in my head and I can feel the ambience of it. But everyone has that I think.

  6. Rei Bunn

    August 12, 2019 5:54 pm

    I have synesthesia with numbers and letters, most that I notice are numbers that has colors and personality. It helped me a lot with math and remembering phone numbers, pages, etc. I also can remember a word/sentence/what people said by remembering the colors. It works on every language. I learned Arabic during high school and it has its own colors, I learn Japanese during summer time and it also has colors. It's distorted when I don't understand the language but the colors gets cleared up when I understand a word. That's why I love to learn a language

  7. Ana Maxilia

    August 12, 2019 6:02 pm

    Is it strange that I wasn't interested in the colors as I closed my eyes and appreciate the music. I always get goosebumps while listening to sonato,symphony or opera. It's like an orgasm which spread from the ears to the whole body.

  8. Mynti Girl

    August 12, 2019 9:57 pm

    My band director has synesthesia, and if someone plays a wrong note he’ll yell, “OKAY, I want you to play blue AND SOMEONE PLAYED RED PLEASE FIX IT!!”
    And everyone just like,

  9. Katrina O’Neil

    August 12, 2019 10:09 pm

    Imagine how torturous it must be when everybody’s first learning to play! 😂 All of the different notes, it hurts my ears and I can’t imagine seeing that.

  10. Sophie Stanculescu

    August 12, 2019 11:12 pm

    I see shapes, mostly. Some color too, but shapes. I’ve seen very few videos that vibrate with what music feels like for me to listen. I’ve been thinking for years to make one of my own, to share with the world. I’ve had an interview in a magazine once, and made a couple diagrams of numbers and such. I do not know either what my world would be without my synesthesia. I cherish it

  11. Izzybusy Bellebutton

    August 12, 2019 11:47 pm

    My language arts teacher has this but with names. Numbers also have personality’s and Wednesday is almost nonexistent to her

  12. Random Fandoms

    August 13, 2019 2:50 am

    I literally think I can taste colors. Sometimes I eat/try a food and it has a weird taste and for some reason I call it a red taste? If that’s how red actually tastes like it tastes sooooo bad.

  13. Ayron Jose Hernandez Lopez

    August 13, 2019 3:25 am

    imagine hearing metal music and skulls start appearing and it keeps getting brighter every beat

  14. Georgia Ledford

    August 13, 2019 4:02 am

    with me, I just generally view whole music pieces as specific colors (the video was red for me), I think I've only used the colors red, green, yellow, pink, and very, very rarely purple (I have no clue where orange or blue or brown etc is). But besides that, every letter & number for me has a specific color, and sometimes I can vaguely see colors in textures or tastes

  15. Элеонора Черепанова

    August 13, 2019 11:11 am

    I don't know if I have synesthesia. I really see colours when I see or imagine a letter or a digit. But I'm not sure if my experience is bright enough to call it synesthesia or if it's just an association. My mum's letters are also courful, but others' aren't… I also see some special words colorful. Think I need an expert

  16. Abel Drabble

    August 13, 2019 3:22 pm

    i get the feeling it helps in your academic life as well….i wish i had synesthesia..probably still use it wrongly come to think about it

  17. Aishwarya

    August 13, 2019 8:27 pm

    Does this mean I can use this for BTS' songs too? 😂 I'm sorry people, no hate please and I actually came here cause it sounds (or should I say looks? Hehe) really cool!

  18. [GD] Goose Crack

    August 13, 2019 9:38 pm

    It's funny cause she's playing vivaldi and in 4th grade we had an activity where we listened to parts of the 4 season and for each season we would color on a paper what color we saw when listening (I probably would've forgot about that if I never watched this)

  19. the diddler

    August 13, 2019 10:36 pm

    This title is actually incorrect. This person sees noise. Not the other way around. If she were to hear colors, she would hear a note every time she saw a certain color.

  20. Évoli

    August 13, 2019 11:42 pm

    Could a blind person have this exact type of synestesia? That would probably be their only vision. Like… The colors are caused by something in the brain that transforms hearing into seeing. So… Could they?

  21. Rituel De Bangtan

    August 13, 2019 11:44 pm

    Idk if you can call this synesthesia but when I close my eyes I imagine colours, I don't really "see" them, but the colours I imagine where almost same as yours so idk…I've always wanted to have synesthesia but I wasn't sure if I really had synesthesia since I was mostly thinking about colours, but now I think I kinda have it since the colours I "imagine" are almost the same as yours….

  22. LialaOkami

    August 14, 2019 12:41 am

    I might have mild synesthesia, although it's hard to tell for me. Some foods taste like certain colors, but most don't so that brings the confusion. Like, white grape juice tastes like a dark yellowish green, some apple flavored candy tastes pastel green, and some grape flavored candy tastes like a bubbly purple, but that's it.
    I'm not sure it I actually have some form of synesthesia or if I just have weirdly specific associations. Either could probably be the case.

  23. brigetmiget AEW

    August 14, 2019 3:15 am

    Oh wow that was be a beautiful!!!! Im astounded by the lights and as a musician i would love to see the colors that some of my songs sound like

  24. Green146

    August 14, 2019 3:35 am

    I did a test and I realized I always considered months as colors and apparantly that counts as a form of synthesia??

  25. Loki Laufeyson

    August 14, 2019 5:35 am

    I see letters and numbers as colors. Also seasons, days of the week and months 🤷🏼‍♀️ idk if that’s the same thing or not?

  26. 박성재

    August 14, 2019 3:06 pm

    I can see the sounds, but not as a note, but as a sound, just sound.
    When i hear the first song i see yellow, and then getting orange, darker orange and the last one is a green.

  27. Sean Almario

    August 14, 2019 3:08 pm

    Green means a natural sound
    Yellow means a uneven highness
    White means the highness
    Blue means smooth
    Red means a rough sound
    Violet means a royal sound
    Orange means the rest between the highness and roughness
    Black means a dull sound

    Some colors change based on the loudness and the pitch of the sound

    It's light is based on the quality of the sound or it's intensity and frequency

    The black can be changed to other colors but black just means dull

  28. クモキOwie

    August 14, 2019 7:48 pm

    This is super interesting (๑*Д*๑)!! Ive a 10% vision..it would be so interesting to see what i play or to see in colors what i hear

  29. Allen's Matchmaker

    August 14, 2019 7:53 pm

    Holy crud. So amazing. I would pursue a career in music too if I knew I could be the light wizard whenever I played something. Beautiful!

    Question! Can you tell if the pitch(?) of a note is correct based on the lights?

  30. Yangy

    August 14, 2019 8:16 pm

    I heard about synesthesia first when I read "Mondays are Red" in school. Some (Not all) words have tastes

  31. Jordan Pieterse

    August 14, 2019 8:25 pm

    Does this mean that she sees colors when people talk, too? Or if she hears and aeroplane, she sees a color?

  32. Eli Alone

    August 14, 2019 10:48 pm

    In my case it’s not synesthesia, but I guess a vivid imagination instead :’D Different types of music always make me imagine different sceneries. Classical music is always quite open natural landscapes. Rock and heavy are a tight space, like a thick forest, a cave or a basement. Electronic is city lights, usually at night. Swing and jazz are a constant stream of people, like a rush hour on a street or something. So yeah :’D This song is full of summer heat. It’s a dry meadow. The calmer parts are a small gust of wind, the more intense ones the heat washing over the scenery. I can almost smell that summery smell of hay in the heat of the sun 🙂 I guess I’m just weird :’D

  33. •☆IzzieR32☆•

    August 15, 2019 12:10 am

    I looked around when the video started and when she opened the case I shouted "IS THAT A RIFLE" and turned around to see her with an instrument


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