Chapter

Musical Synesthesia

in The Music between Us

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226333281
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226333274 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226333274.003.0006
Musical Synesthesia

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Musical experience tends to elicit a listener's imaginative projection of a full sensory “world” and transports us beyond the streams of auditory and tactile input to an impression of the larger sensorium. In this sense, music induces a type of synesthesia, a term that refers to unusual phenomenological associations of perceptual material from one sensory mode with perceptual material in another. Musical synesthesia is an aspect of musical experience that contributes to its being universally so powerful. Nevertheless, cultural differences in the interpretation of the extra-auditory world with which music is connected also result in cultural variations in the interpretations connected to musical synesthesia. The cultural variety of specific symbolisms and models determines the extent to which musical synesthesia is used as a basis for cross-cultural communication.

Keywords: music; synesthesia; musical experience; cross-cultural communication; cultural differences

Chapter.  5376 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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