List of people with synesthesia
||This article possibly contains original research. (April 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
This is a list of notable people who have, or had, the neurological condition synesthesia. Following that, there is a list of people who are often wrongly believed to have had synesthesia because they used it as a device in their art, poetry or music (referred to as pseudo-synesthetes). Finally, there is a short list of people who have received a speculative, posthumous diagnosis of synesthesia, or who are thought to possibly be synesthetes based on second or third hand sources. These are listed as "still under review" in the expectation that additional data will help to clarify their status.
- 1 Synesthetes
- 1.1 Tori Amos
- 1.2 Rollo Armstrong
- 1.3 Steve Aylett
- 1.4 Amy Beach
- 1.5 Leonard Bernstein
- 1.6 Eugen Bleuler
- 1.7 Mary J. Blige
- 1.8 Sir Robert Cailliau
- 1.9 Stephanie Carswell
- 1.10 Antoine d'Abbadie
- 1.11 Marina Diamandis
- 1.12 Patricia Lynne Duffy
- 1.13 Duke Ellington
- 1.14 Sam Endicott
- 1.15 Richard Feynman
- 1.16 Michel Gagné
- 1.17 Hélène Grimaud
- 1.18 Neil Harbisson
- 1.19 Robyn Hitchcock
- 1.20 David Hockney
- 1.21 Greg Jarvis
- 1.22 Billy Joel
- 1.23 Elvin Jones
- 1.24 Kilford
- 1.25 Brooks Kerr
- 1.26 György Ligeti
- 1.27 Franz Liszt
- 1.28 Marian McPartland
- 1.29 Trash McSweeney
- 1.30 Olivier Messiaen
- 1.31 Marilyn Monroe
- 1.32 Stephanie Morgenstern
- 1.33 Vladimir Nabokov
- 1.34 Karl Robert Osten-Sacken
- 1.35 Itzhak Perlman
- 1.36 Joachim Raff
- 1.37 Osmo Tapio Räihälä
- 1.38 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
- 1.39 Geoffrey Rush
- 1.40 Solomon Shereshevskii
- 1.41 Jean Sibelius
- 1.42 Ida Maria Børli Sivertsen
- 1.43 Carol Steen
- 1.44 Patrick Stump
- 1.45 Brendon Urie
- 1.46 Daniel Tammet
- 1.47 Avey Tare
- 1.48 Sabriye Tenberken
- 1.49 Michael Torke
- 1.50 Vincent Van Gogh
- 1.51 Eddie Van Halen
- 1.52 Pharrell Williams
- 1.53 Stevie Wonder
- 1.54 Kanye West
- 1.55 Charli XCX
- 2 Pseudo-synesthetes
- 3 Proposed others that are still under review
- 4 References
Singer/songwriter/pianist (born August 22, 1963). Music → color.
The song appears as light filament once I've cracked it. As long as I've been doing this, which is more than thirty-five years, I've never seen a duplicate song structure. I've never seen the same light creature in my life. Obviously similar chord progressions follow similar light patterns, but try to imagine the best kaleidoscope ever...
Producer/mixer, member of Faithless (born 1967). Music → color.
"He gets on with the broad strokes, textures and colors — that’s how he hears music, he’s got that synesthesia (a phenomenon where sounds have color), he says ‘make it really sad, like a rainy day, I want to hear thunder’ — and I get on with all the anal fiddly bits."
British author (born 1967). Music → color.
"It’s not as strange or unusual as it’s made out to be - it’s just a bit of a crossover of different senses. So I see music, taste some colours and so on. I think the music thing is very common, but people tell themselves that that isn’t what’s happening."— From Fractal Matter interview with Steve Aylett.
American pianist and composer (September 5, 1867 – December 27, 1944). It turns out that the 19th-century American classical composer Amy Beach had both perfect pitch and a set of colors for musical keys (musical keys → color). Here are two quotes from biographies:
"Other interesting stories about Amy’s musical personality and her astounding abilities as a prodigy are recounted in almost all previous biographical writings. One such story is Amy’s association of certain colors with certain keys. For instance, Amy might ask her mother to play the ‘purple music’ or the ‘green music.’ The most popular story, however, seems to be the one about Amy’s going on a trip to California and notating on staff paper the exact pitches of bird calls she heard."— From Jeanell Brown, p. 16.
"Amy’s mother encouraged her to relate melodies to the colors blue, pink, or purple, but before long Amy had a wider range of colors, which she associated with certain major keys. Thus C was white, F-sharp black, E yellow, G red, A green, A-flat blue, D-flat violet or purple, and E-flat pink. Until the end of her life she associated these colors with those keys."— From Walter Jenkins, pp. 5-6.
American composer and conductor (August 25, 1918 - October 14, 1990). Timbre → color synesthesia, which he talked about during his "Young People's Concerts" series (the "What is orchestration" segment).
Swiss psychiatrist (April 30, 1857 - July 15, 1939). Originator of the term schizophrenia. Phonemes → color.
Singer-songwriter, record producer, and occasional rapper and actress.
I have that condition, synesthesia. I see music in colors. That’s how my synesthesia plays out.— From an interview at LA Confidential 
Sir Robert Cailliau
Australian actress and soprano (born 1985). Lexeme → color.
"Monday is yellow; Tuesday is quite a deep red; Wednesday is sort of a grass green; Thursday is a much darker green but still quite bright; Friday has always confused me, it’s either a very dark purple, blue or grey; Saturday is white; and Sunday is sort of a light peach colour. For anyone who doesn’t understand what’s happening here, I have a neurological condition called synesthesia, which means that I ‘see’ words in colours."— From Stephanie Carswell Q & A web site.
Author of first book by a synesthete about synesthesia, "Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds". Grapheme-color, time unit-color and shape.
"Until one day," I said to my father, "I realized that to make an 'R', all I had to do was first write a 'P' and then draw a line down from its loop. And I was so surprised I could turn a yellow letter into an orange letter just by adding a line."— From her book
Composer and pianist (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974). Timbre → color.
"I hear a note by one of the fellows in the band and it’s one color. I hear the same note played by someone else and it’s a different color. When I hear sustained musical tones, I see just about the same colors that you do, but I see them in textures. If Harry Carney is playing, D is dark blue burlap. If Johnny Hodges is playing, G becomes light blue satin."— Ellington, as quoted in Don George, p. 226.
Lead singer of The Bravery. Music → color.
"Synesthesia is when your brain sees music as colors. That is what my brain does, and these are the colors I see when I hear this song,"— From Spinner.com, Slow Poison video premiere
Physicist (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988). Winner of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics. Feynman had colored letters and numbers (graphemes → color).
"When I see equations, I see the letters in colors – I don't know why. As I'm talking, I see vague pictures of Bessel functions from Jahnke and Emde's book, with light-tan j's, slightly violet-bluish n's, and dark brown x's flying around. And I wonder what the hell it must look like to the students."— From Richard Feynman, p. 59.
Cartoonist, animation artist (born 1965). Music → color and movement. Creator of the synesthetic taste sequences in Disney/Pixar's "Ratatouille" (2008) and of short film "Sensology" (6 minutes - Canada/USA 2010).
"Back in June 2006, Nancy and I were invited to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival by Coastal Jazz's manager of artistic programming, the amazing Rainbow Robert. That's where I heard piano improvisor, Paul Plimley for the first time. As Paul played, I closed my eyes and had an intense synesthetic experience.,"— From Gagné's website
French pianist (born November 7, 1969). Grimaud has colored numbers (graphemes → color) and sees music in colors (music → color).
"It was when I was eleven, and working on the F sharp major Prelude from the first book of Bach's Well-tempered Clavier - I perceived something that was very bright, between red and orange, very warm and vivid: an almost shapeless stain, rather like what you would see in the recording control-room if the image of sound were projected on a screen. But as numbers had always had colours for me - two was yellow, four was red, five was green - and as I have always found music evocative, I didn't regard this as unusual. It was more the idea of colour than colour itself. Certain pieces always project me into a particular colour-world. Sometimes it's a result of the tonality - C minor is black, and D minor, the key that has always been closest to me, being the most dramatic and poignant is blue."— From Credo - Hélène Grimaud interviewed by Michael Church.
(Color → sound / sound → color) Catalan-raised, British-born contemporary artist and musician (born 27 July 1982) best known for his self-extended ability to hear colours and to perceive colours outside the ability of human vision. He is the first person in the world to have a cyborg antenna implanted in his skull. The antenna allows him to hear the frequencies of the colors around him and to receive colour sounds directly into his skull from external devices via wifi.
Singer/songwriter (born March 3, 1953). Multiple synesthiae.
"A thought struck me: if my new album sounds this good on a walkman, what would Roxy Music sound like? A mere two years later I bought one and found out. However, on a train, a few years later still, I had negative synaesthesia eating a bacon sandwich and listening to a solo Ferry album, which turned me vegetarian."— From the liner notes of the I Wanna Go Backwards box set.
Artist (born July 9, 1937). Music → color. Hockney sees synesthetic colors to musical stimuli. In general, this does not show up in his painting or photography artwork too much. However, it is a common underlying principle in his construction of stage sets for various ballets and operas, where he bases the background colors and lighting upon his own seen colors while listening to the music of the theater piece he is working on.
For me it’s all based on the timbres, so a trumpet, a piano, even if they’re playing the same note they make a different sound, and those sounds produce different shapes for me. But it’s also all noise, whether it’s a subway train or a horn honking, I see it as an abstract shape in front of me, or behind me, right around where ever the sound source is.— From a CBC Radio interview
I would say the softer, more intimate songs -- there's 'Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel), 'And So It Goes,' 'Vienna' and another called, 'Summer, Highland Falls' -- when I think of different types of melodies, which are slower or softer, I think in terms of blues or greens...When I [see] a particularly vivid color, it's usually a strong melodic, strong rhythmic pattern that emerges at the same time. When I think of these songs, I think of vivid reds, oranges and golds.— From an interview by Maureen Seaberg with Billy Joelp. 89
Certain lyrics in some songs I've written, I have to follow a vowel color. A strong vowel ending, like an A or an E or an I, I associate with a very blue or a very vivid green...I think reds I associate more with consonants, a T or a P or an S. It's a harder sound. These [letters] are what I associate with reds and oranges.— From an interview by Maureen Seaberg with Billy Joelp. 91
Jazz drummer (September 9, 1927 - May 18, 2004). Music -> color.
I get images sometimes, color images. The lowest, the bass tones, the little D would be purple, the C red, F be yellow.— From the documentary A Different Drummer, 
British Painter (born 1975). Music → color. Known as The Music Painter, Kilford’s paintings are the physical representation of music based on the colours he sees when he hears music. His paintings are created by either painting live alongside musicians during their performances or in his studio where he either creates paintings based on individual tracks or is visited by musicians who perform as Kilford paints. Kilford has painted live alongside a wide range of musicians including Paul Weller, Robert Plant, Damon Albarn, Black Eyed Peas, Brian Eno, Deep Purple, Status Quo and The Charlatans amongst others.
Jazz pianist. Musical notes → color.
"With the little bit of sight he possessed, Brooks was unable to read or to identify objects, and lead sheets remained a forever closed door to him, but he was able to differentiate colors. I remember when he first told us that in his mind’s eye every musical note was a different color and that the scale resembled a rainbow. He fingered a C on the piano, explaining, ‘This note is red.’ He hit a D. ‘This one is dark blue.’ He hit an F. ‘This is yellow.’ His finger wandered to a G. ‘This one is light blue …’"— From Don George, pp. 225-226.
Composer (May 28, 1923 – June 12, 2006). Grapheme → color.
""I am inclined to synaesthetic perception. I associate sounds with colours and shapes. Like Rimbaud, I feel that all letters have a colour." "Major chords are red or pink, minor chords are somewhere between green and brown. I do not have perfect pitch, so when I say that C minor has a rusty red-brown colour and D minor is brown this does not come from the pitch but from the letters C and D. I think it must go back to my childhood. I find, for instance, that numbers also have colours; 1 is steely grey, 2 is orange, 5 is green. At some point these associations must have got fixed, perhaps I saw the green number 5 on a stamp or on a shop sign. But there must be some collective associations too. For most people the sound of a trumpet is probably yellow although I find it red because of its shrillness …."— From György Ligeti, p. 58.
Composer (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886). Music → color.
"When Liszt first began as Kapellmeister in Weimar (1842), it astonished the orchestra that he said: 'O please, gentlemen, a little bluer, if you please! This tone type requires it!' Or: 'That is a deep violet, please, depend on it! Not so rose!' First the orchestra believed Liszt just joked; more later they got accustomed to the fact that the great musician seemed to see colors there, where there were only tones."— Anonymous, as quoted in Friedrich Mahling, p. 230. (Translation by Sean A. Day.)
Jazz pianist, composer, radio personality, associates keys with colors. She has stated that: "You see, nobody ever told me it was difficult to play in certain keys, like F sharp. Personally, I find C a hard key. It's very sterile to me. Somehow all the keys seem to have colors and textures. I love B and E and A and F sharp. I actually associate them with colors, but Jim Hall, the guitarist, does too, so I don't feel that ridiculous about it." In another quote: "The key of D is daffodil yellow, B major is maroon, and B flat is blue."
Composer and organist (December 10, 1908 – April 27, 1992). Chordal structure → color. Olivier Messiaen was self-admittedly a synesthete, as is quite well detailed in his own writings and in interviews. Many of his compositions, such as Oiseaux Exotiques, L'ascension, and Couleurs de la cite celeste, are directly based upon his, in a sense, trying to "produce pictures" via sound, writing specific notes to produce specific color sequences and blends.
Actress, singer and model (June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962).
She has that displacement of the senses which others take drugs to find. So she is like a lover of rock who sees vibrations when she hears sounds.
Her surviving niece, the author Mona Rae Miracle, confirms Mailer's impression to synesthete journalist Maureen Seaberg in her book Tasting the Universe, although she admits they never called it synesthesia in their time: "Synesthesia is a term Marilyn and I were unaware of; in the past, we simply spoke of the characteristic experiences with terms such as 'extraordinary sensitivity' and/or 'extraordinary imagination.'"p. 115
Actress and film director (born 10 December 1965). Graphemes → color; musical notes → color.
"A few years ago, I mentioned to a friend that I remembered phone numbers by their colour. He said "So you're a synesthete!" I hadn't heard of synesthesia (which means something close to sense-fusion') – I only knew that numbers seemed naturally to have colours: five is blue, two is green, three is red… And music has colours too: the key of C# minor is a sharp, tangy yellow, F major is a warm brown..."— Stephanie Morgenstern interview.
Author (April 22, 1899 – July 2, 1977). Grapheme → color. In his autobiography, Speak Memory (1966), the Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov tells us of his
"fine case of colored hearing. Perhaps 'hearing' is not quite accurate, since the color sensation seems to be produced by the very act of my orally forming a given letter while I imagine its outline. The long a of the English alphabet (and it is this alphabet I have in mind farther on unless otherwise stated) has for me the tint of weathered wood, but a French a evokes polished ebony. This black group also includes hard g (vulcanized rubber) and r (a sooty rag bag being ripped). Oatmeal n, noodle-limp l, and the ivory-backed hand mirror of o take care of the whites. I am puzzled by my French on which I see as the brimming tension-surface of alcohol in a small glass. Passing on to the blue group, there is steely x, thundercloud z, and huckleberry k. Since a subtle interaction exists between sound and shape, I see q as browner than k, while s is not the light blue of c, but a curious mixture of azure and mother-of-pearl. Adjacent tints do not merge, and diphthongs do not have special colors of their own, unless represented by a single character in some other language (thus the fluffy-gray, three-stemmed Russian letter that stands for sh [Ш], a letter as old as the rushes of the Nile, influences its English representation)."
" ... In the green group, there are alder-leaf f, the unripe apple of p, and pistachio t. Dull green, combined somehow with violet, is the best I can do for w. The yellows comprise various e's and i's, creamy d, bright-golden y, and u, whose alphabetical value I can express only by 'brassy with an olive sheen.' In the brown group, there are the rich rubbery tone of soft g, paler j, and the drab shoelace of h. Finally, among the reds, b has the tone called burnt sienna by painters, m is a fold of pink flannel, and today I have at last perfectly matched v with 'Rose Quartz' in Maerz and Paul's Dictionary of Color. The word for rainbow, a primary, but decidedly muddy, rainbow, is in my private language the hardly pronounceable: kzspygv"— From Vladimir Nabokov, p. 34-35.
Violinist, conductor and teacher (August 31, 1945 – present). Tone → color.
If I play a B-flat on the G string, I would say that the color for me is probably deep forest green. And if I play an A on the E string, that would be red. If I play the next B, if I look at it right now, I would say that it's yellow.— From an interview in Tasting the Universe by Maureen Seaberg with Itzhak Perlmanp.53
Composer (May 27, 1822 - June 24 or 25, 1882). Timbre → color. In 1855, the composer Joachim Raff "declared that the sounds of instruments produced color impressions of various kinds. Thus the sound of a flute produced the sensation of intense azure blue; of the hautboy [oboe], yellow; cornet, green; trumpet, scarlet; the French horn, purple; and the flageolet [bassoon], grey. The clearest and most distinct shades were those evoked by the high notes" (Krohn 1892 : 22). It is unknown whether Raff was a synaesthete; he may well have been, but this small set of colored timbres does not provide enough information, without more direct claims as to where the correspondences originate from.
Composer (January 15, 1964). Has described perceiving music in colors and shapes, and visual arts as sounds and timbres.
"For me, music belongs to the visual arts. When I think about new music, I „see“ it. Instead of sounds, I imagine shapes, colours, surfaces, values etc., and only when I start the proper planning of a new work I try to change these things into sounds. However, the end result is always pure music. The same happens the other way round: when I see an impressive painting or a sculpture or practically any kind of visual artwork, I „hear“ it. It has happened to me more than often that when I‘ve seen for example a fine sculpture, its form and shape immediately brings strong sounds into my mind. I guess this is one form of synesthesia."— Osmo Tapio Räihälä, Sikorski Magazin, 2015
Composer (March 6, 1844 – June 8, 1908). Musical keys → color. Rimsky-Korsakov synesthetically experienced colors for musical keys (musical keys →color). For example, for him, the key of C major was white, and the key of B major was a gloomy dark blue with a steel shine.
Actor (July 6, 1951). Multiple synesthesiae. Experiences colors for days of the week as well as numbers.
Friday is dark maroon, a type of sienna, and Saturday is definitely white. Monday is a cool blue... Since I was seven, when I first learnt counting, numbers had specific colours.— Geoffrey Rush: A Man for all Seasons, May 20, 2007.
Russian journalist and mnemonist (1886–1958). Multiple synesthesiae. As the subject of a book-length case study, The Mind of a Mnemonist: A Little Book About a Vast Memory, by neuropsychologist Alexander Luria, Shereshevskii was named only with the initial "S". Luria details Sherevskii's fivefold synesthesia, how he used his synesthesia to perform feats of memory, including memorizing complex mathematical formulae, huge matrices and even poems in foreign languages, and later in life, how Shereshevskii was burdened by his inability to forget even the most trivial details.
Composer (December 8, 1865 – September 20, 1957). Sound → color.
"For him there existed a strange, mysterious connection between sound and color, between the most secret perceptions of the eye and ear. Everything he saw produced a corresponding impression on his ear – every impression of sound was transferred and fixed as color on the retina of his eye and thence to his memory. And this he thought as natural, with as good reason as those who did not possess this faculty called him crazy or affectedly original."
"For this reason he only spoke of this in the strictest confidence and under a pledge of silence. 'For otherwise they will make fun of me!'"
Singer/Songwriter (born July 13, 1984). Sound → color synesthesia.
Artist (born 1943) who founded the American Synesthesia Association. Steen experiences colors while viewing letters and numbers (grapheme-color synesthesia), music (timbre-color synesthesia), and (touch-color synesthesia) in response to acupuncture and pain.
"So this isn't really news but it's come to my attention that I have a common form of synesthesia known as grapheme to color synesthesia. It is (according to Wikipedia....who are always right...right?) 'A neurologically-based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in secondary sensory or cognitive pathway.' The shorthand is basically that your senses are crossed. Like some synthetics can 'Taste' colors or 'See' sounds. In the case of graphame to color synthetics it basically means that one interprets written information as 'Colored.' For instance the letter 'F' for me is green. When I see it written in black I obviously still notice that it is black but it 'Feels' green. Or 'S' is red. Most of the alphabet and numbers from 1-10 have some sort of associated color to me. It's ultimately totally trivial but I found it fascinating that this is a documented phenomenon and not just me being a weirdo."
"Death of a Bachelor was a lot of bright yellows, bright reds. But it was all very Sixties, like if you've ever seen the Doors performance where there are actual doors hanging above smoke screens and the smoke is coming up. It's very Easter-ish, soft pastel colors. It's soft but bright. It's like glow-y and there are yellows and reds and dark teals that are still popping...But sometimes it's colors, sometimes it's a tornado of words and I pick one out. Sometimes it's shapes. A song could be a square and go in that perfect order. Sometimes it's a pyramid that turns into rhombus. But there are no rules and I love that. It comes from an emotional state."
Autistic savant (born January 31, 1979). Multiple synesthesiae. Grapheme → color/shape, days of the week → color, and grapheme → personality (also known as OLP, or ordinal linguistic personification).
Musician best known as one of the founding members of Animal Collective (born April 24, 1979). Associates sounds with visuals. When asked if he had synesthesia, Tare responded, "Yeah! Totally!"
"I feel like I think about music in such visual terms that it’s hard [to not consider the visual elements]. It’s not something that I really turn on or off. It’s like even listening to a record…I mean that’s kind of why I got into music. It has always taken on a whole visual atmosphere to me."— From his interview with Brightest Young Things.
Of Braille Without Borders (born 1970). Multiple synesthesiae.
"Tenberken had impaired vision almost from birth, but was able to make out faces and landscapes until she was 12. As a child in Germany, she had a particular predilection for colours, and loved painting, and when she was no longer able to decipher shapes and forms she could still use colours to identify objects. Tenberken has, indeed an intense synaesthesia. "'As far back as I can remember,' she writes, 'numbers and words have instantly triggered colours in me ... number four, for example [is] gold. Five is light green. Nine is vermillion... Days of week, as well as months, have their colours, too.' Her synaesthesia has persisted and been intensified, it seems, by her blindness"
Composer (born September 22, 1961). Multiple synesthesiae. This claim is supported by Torke's numerous interviews with major synesthesia researchers.
Guitarist (born January 26, 1955). Sound → color.
Hip-hop producer and artist (born April 5, 1973). Music → color.
"It just always stuck out in my mind, and I could always see it. I don't know if that makes sense, but I could always visualize what I was hearing... Yeah, it was always like weird colors."— From a Nightline interview with Pharrell
Singer/songwriter and record producer (born May 13, 1950). Sound → color.
"Yeezus, though, was the beginning of me as a new kind of artist. Stepping forward with what I know about architecture, about classicism, about society, about texture, about synesthesia—the ability to see sound—and the way everything is everything and all these things combine, and then starting from scratch with Yeezus."— From Steve McQueen interview with Kanye West
Singer-songwriter (born August 2, 1992). Music → color.
"I see music in colours. I love music that's black, pink, purple or red - but I hate music that's green, yellow or brown."— XCX speaking with BBC.
- Alexander Scriabin (6 January 1872 – 27 April 1915) probably was not a synesthete, but, rather, was highly influenced by the French and Russian salon fashions. Most noticeably, Scriabin seems to have been strongly influenced by the writings and talks of the Russian mystic, Helena P. Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society and author of such works as Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. The synesthetic motifs found in Scriabin's compositions – most noticeably in Prometheus, composed in 1911 – are developed from ideas from Isaac Newton, and follow a circle of fifths.
Proposed others that are still under review
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
- Syd Barrett (January 6, 1946 - July 7, 2006), composer, artist; multiple synesthesiae
- Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970), musician
- Bob Dylan (May 24, 1941), musician, sound to color based on this quote from "Celebritytypes": "I don't know if I call myself a poet or not. ... It's more of a visual type of thing for me. I could picture the color of the song." 
- Victor Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885), writer
- Richard D. James aka Aphex Twin (born August 18, 1971), English electronic music artist; musical sounds and words → colour
- Wassily Kandinsky (December 16, 1866 – December 13, 1944), painter
- John Mayer (October 16, 1977), musician, sound to color
- Anthony Powell (December 21, 1905 - March 28, 2000), writer
- Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959), architect, claimed to hear music sometimes while designing buildings
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, writer, describes colours experienced by the protagonist upon hearing a female character's voice in "Rapaccini's Daughter."
- Geoff Emerick, recording engineer, described sound tones in terms of colours.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher (1889–1951) Possible case of grapheme - colour synaesthesia, based on this quote from the book Zettel: "It’s just like the way some people do not understand the question 'What color has the vowel A for you?'"
- Adil Omar, rapper/singer-songwriter with sound and color synesthesia.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher. (In the Genealogy of Morality, he describes Schopenhauer's words as "green and black.")
- Devin Townsend, Canadian musician, frequently relates sound to colors and numbers in interviews and demonstrations.
- Justin Chancellor, Bassist of Tool, states on Facebook that he has Synesthesia.
- Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, German poet and musician. Wrote Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst (1806) about Affective Key characteristics.
- Nikola Tesla, Serbian Inventor. Hypersensitive, uncanny visualization ability.
- Yevgeny Zamyatin, (February 1, 1884 – March 10, 1937), writer. Potential grapheme-colour synaesthete. Once told artist Yuri Annenkov the qualities he ascribed to each letter. "L is pale, cold, light blue, liquid, light. R is loud, bright, red, hot, fast. N is tender, snow, sky, night D & T are stifling, grave, foggy, obscuring, stagnant. M is kind, soft, motherly, sea-like. A is wide, distant, ocean, misty mirage, breadth of scope. O is high, deep, sea-like, bosom. I is close, low, pressing."
- Gabrielle Thierry, French Artist, has been exploring visual methods for interpreting musical dimensions of painting.Landscapes reveal their rhythms and harmonies, allowing her to translate paintings into colored music scores. See also the "Musical Qualities of Water Lilies, a colored music score transcribed on canvas", paintings inspired by Claude Monet's Panels at the Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
- Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese poet/writer (1888-1935)
- Amos, Tori; Powers, Ann (2005). Tori Amos: Piece by Piece. Broadway Books. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7679-1677-6.
- Sound Generator Interview retrieved Aug. 26, 2006
- Fractal Matter interview with Steve Aylett
- Brown, Jeanell Wise. Amy Beach and her chamber music: biography, documents, style. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994. P. 16. References are to letters in the Crawford Collection, Library of Congress.
- Jenkins, Walter S. The remarkable Mrs. Beach, American composer. Warren, Mich.: Harmonie Park Press, 1994. Pp. 5-6. Reference is to an interview of Beach by George Y. Loveridge in the Providence (RI) Journal, Dec. 4, 1937, p. 5.
- The Leonard Bernstein Official Site: For Young People
- Bleuler, Eugen, and Karl Lehmann. 1881. Zwansmässige Lichtempindungen durch Schall und verwandte Erscheinungen auf dem Gebiete der andern Sinnesempfindungen. Leipzig: Fues's Verlag.
- Sessums, Kevin. "Regal and Real: Mary J. Blige". Los Angeles Confidential. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- "Alphabet". Archived from the original on August 22, 2006.
- Stephanie Carswell Q & A web site
- Galton, Sir francis. 1881. "Visualized numerals." Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland; volume 10: 85-102.
- Loose Women | Marina and the Diamonds - ITV Lifestyle ITV - 27 April 2010 - Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- Patricia Lynne Duffy (2011). Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds. Macmillan. p. 13. ISBN 1429928271.
- Ellington, as quoted in George, Don. 1981. Sweet man: The real Duke Ellington. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Page 226.
- Feynman, Richard. 1988. What Do You Care What Other People Think? New York: Norton. P. 59.
- "Sensology". Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Credo - Hélène Grimaud interviewed by Michael Church
- As told to Sally Davies, FT Magazine I'm a human cyborg – I can hear colour, First Person: Neil Harbisson I was born in Belfast but grew up in Catalonia., 17 August 2012.
- Bannister, Matthew. Outlook,BBC World Service, 23 January 2012.
- Wade, Greg. "Seeing things in a different light", BBC, 19 January 2005.
- "Black Snake Diamond Role". I Wanna Go Backwards (CD booklet). Robyn Hitchcock. Chapel Hill, NC: Yep Roc Records. 2007. p. 4.
- see Cytowic, Richard E. 2002. Synaesthesia: a Union of the Senses. Second edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
- Everett-Green, Robert (Dec 3, 2010). "For Musician With Synaethesia, The Cello Can Sound Too Fury. Or Too Red.". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
- "Life with synesthesia: Toronto man who can see sounds shares his story". January 28th 2015, Metro – Toronto Edition.
- "Sound Takes Shape". October 18th 2015, by Allison Shouldice, Toronto Star – Star Touch.
- "Blended Senses". July 30th 2013, CBC The National.
- Synesthesia. CBC Ontario Today. Feb 6, 2015.
- Radio interview with Richard Cytowic and Sean Day, WBUR.org, Boston's NPR News Source.
- Seaberg, M. (2011). Tasting the Universe. New Page Books. ISBN 978-1-60163-159-6.
- Elvin Jones A Different Drummer pt3.
- "Songs in the colour blue". Gulf News. July 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
- George, Don. 1981. Sweet man: The real Duke Ellington. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Pp. 225-226.
- Ligeti, György. 1983 (1981). Ligeti in conversation. London: Eulenburg Books. Page 58.
- Quoted from an anonymous article in the Neuen Berliner Musikzeitung (29 August 1895); quoted in Mahling, Friedrich. 1926. "Das Problem der 'Audition colorée: Eine historische-kritische Untersuchung." Archiv für die Gesamte Psychologie; LVII Band. Leipzig: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft M.B.H. Pp. 165-301. Page 230. Translation by Sean A. Day.
- Hasson, Claire. A Discussion Of Marian McPartland's Style in Marian McPartland: Jazz Pianist: An Overview of a Career
- Lyons, L. (1983) The Great Jazz Pianists, p. 173, New York: Da Capo Press Inc.
- Balliett, W. (1977) New York Notes: A Journal Of Jazz In The Seventies, New York: Da Capo Press Inc. p. 289.
- see Samuel, Claude. 1994 (1986). Olivier Messiaen: Music and Color. Conversations with Claude Samuel. Translated by E. Thomas Glasow. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press.
- Mailer, N. (1973). Marilyn: A Biography. Grosset & Dunlap. ISBN 978-0-448-01029-8.
- see Raskin, Richard. 2003. An interview with Stephanie Morgenstern and Mark Ellis on Remembrance. P.O.V., A Danish Journal of Film Studies; number 15 (March): 170-184.
- Nabokov, Vladimir. 1966. Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited. New York: Putnam.
- Cytowic, Richard E; Eagleman, David M (2009). Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia (with an afterword by Dmitri Nabokov). Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 93. ISBN 978-0-262-01279-9
- Krohn, W.O. 1892. “Pseudo-chromaesthesia, or The Association of Color with Words, Letters, and Sounds.” American Journal of Psychology; volume 5: 20-41.
- This is according to an article in the Russian press, Yastrebtsev V. "On N.A.Rimsky-Korsakov's color sound- contemplation." Russkaya muzykalnaya gazeta, 1908, N 39-40, p. 842-845 (in Russian), cited by Bulat Galeyev (1999).
- "Geoffrey Rush: A Man for all Seasons by David Astle".
- Adolf Paul (1890), En Bok om en Människa, as quoted in Ekman 1938: 41-42.
- Ekman, Karl. 1938. Jean Sibelius: His life and personality. Translated from the Finnish by Edward Birse. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
- She was diagnosed as a child with synesthesia, a condition that makes you experience sensations together, rather than separately, as most people do. In Sivertsen’s case, this means she sees colours when she hears music. "It’s wonderful," she says. "And it probably saved my life a couple of times - life looks so rich with patterns and colours." Times Online Interview with Ida Maria
- Steen, C. (2001). "Visions Shared: A Firsthand Look into Synesthesia and Art" (PDF). Leonardo. MIT Press. 34 (3): 203–208. doi:10.1162/002409401750286949.
- "American Synesthesia Association Official website". American Synesthesia Association. November 19, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
- "Patrick Stump's blog". patrickstump.com.
- http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/panic-at-the-discos-brendon-urie-band-is-outlet-for-nonchalant-chaos-20160115/. Missing or empty
- Tammet, Daniel. 2006. "Born on a Blue Day." London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
- "Brightest Young Things".
- see also Tenberken, Sabriye. 2003/2000. My path leads to Tibet. New York: Arcade Publishing.
- see Duffy, Patricia Lynne. 2001. Blue cats and chartreuse kittens: how synesthetes color their worlds. New York: Henry Holt.
- van Gogh, Vincent. "Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh The Hague, 31 and 2 Dec-Jan 1882". WebExhibits. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
This is also the case with Black and White, it is the same after all - one must be able to go from the highest light to the deepest shadow, and this with only a few simple ingredients. Some artists have a nervous hand at drawing, which gives their technique something of the sound peculiar to a violin, for instance, Lemud, Daumier, Lançon - others, for example, Gavarni and Bodmer, remind one more of piano playing. Do you feel this too? - Millet is perhaps a stately organ.
- Day, Sean. "Synesthete Artists". Synesthesia. Day, Sean. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Seaberg, Maureen. "Vincent Van Gogh Was Likely a Synesthete". Psychology Today.
- "What the Hell Is Synesthesia and Why Does Every Musician Seem to Have It?". Pitchfork.
- "Kanye West Opens Up To Steve McQueen In Interview Magazine". StyleBlazer. 21 January 2014.
- "Synesthesia can be a blessing. Just ask Kanye West". The Globe and Mail.
- "BBC News - Charli XCX: Pop, punk and synaesthesia". BBC News.
- Dann, Kevin T. 1998. Bright Colors Falsely Seen: Synaesthesia and the Search for Transcendental Knowledge. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
- B. M. Galeyev and I. L. Vanechkina (August 2001). "Was Scriabin a Synesthete?". Leonardo; Vol. 34, Issue 4, pp. 357 - 362.
- Scriabin, Alexander. 1995(1911). "Poem of Ecstasy" and "Prometheus: Poem of Fire". New York: Dover.
- "Famous ISFPs".
- Tesla, Nikola. "The Strange Life of Nikola Tesla" (PDF). pitt.edu. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- Zamyatin, Yevgeny. "We". Translation by Natasha Randall.