Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday Short

Today's Saturday Short offers two short films. The first, immediately below, is Michal Levy's Giant Steps, an animated visualization representing what Levy saw as she listened to John Coltrane's music. A visual artist and jazz musician, Levy, it should be noted, is a synesthete; that is, her brain automatically "translates" what she hears into shapes and colors, which change with music's tone, pitch, frequency, or melody. Other synesthetes see words as colors or shapes, hear numbers, or smell letters or shapes. The neurological trait is ever-fascinating.

Be sure to visit Levy's Website.

My thanks to Brain Pickings, where I first saw the short.

In this second video, neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of Musicophilia and other well-known books,  talks about musical synesthesia:

Want to know more? Check out these sites:

American Synesthesia Association

The Synesthesia Battery

The Synesthesia Project at Boston University

Synesthesia Resource Center

Synesthesia and the Synesthetic Experience

Synesthesia at Science Channel

Among books on the subject are Wendy Mass's A Mango-Shaped Space (for children; 2003), Patricia Lynne Duffy's Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds (2001), and Richard E. Cytowic's The Man Who Tasted Shapes (1998).

1 comment:

Diane Walker said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this, on SO MANY LEVELS!!! First of all, both my daughter and I are synesthetes, but also my ex-husband is a jazz musician and educator, and spent hours transcribing Coltrane's Giant Steps solo somewhere in the early years of our marriage, so I found myself singing along with it -- a delightful little bump into the past...

As always, I am so grateful for your endlessly curious mind...