Song Lists: Music by Colour

song lists by synesthesia

Something a little different from the norm now. I thought I’d take a break from promo for the new book and travel pieces to let you know something else I’ve been working on recently. Since childhood I have experienced what I later found to be called Synesthesia, a mixing or blurring of the senses. This is particularly common in arts people and in my case manifests itself as hearing music as colour.

When I speak of colour, I refer to the main body of the song. A key change is also a change of colour. For example if a song changes key – and hence colour – from its verse to bridge to chorus then it would have 3 colours. If there is no change then it has 1 colour. But music is much more fluid than that and is not always so easy to interpret. There is much I am learning along the way including many more correlations between colours; mostly pink/green, orange/blue but also olive/purple and warm grey/beige brown. What makes a song light green as opposed to deep pink are the next things I must iron out. I believe my particular experience is more practical and goes beyond synesthesia. In time it could become a new way of writing or recording music. If an artist can master the art of converting music notation (for those that read it) from the old school formula of a, e, d, g etc to colour, it would be possible to colour code album sequencing giving a whole new twist on artistic practice and listener relation to it – alongside that of record cover design.

Over the past few months I’ve been producing song lists according to the colours I hear. So far completed are: David Sylvian, Icehouse, Cock Robin, Wang Chung, Imogen Heap, no-man, a-ha, Jean Michel Jarre and The Blue Nile. There are many more in progress including CHIC, Eno, Duran Duran, Hall and Oates, Genesis, INXS, Pink Floyd, The Police, Tears For Fears, Joni Mitchell, Prince and Roxy Music, though each take time to produce. I have not included every track – merely wanting to give a general overview of an artists’ work. It is possible that I may have made some errors in some cases ‘pitch’ can make it difficult to determine colour as well as the above mentioned correlations.

The only problem is what to do with them as I’ve been thwarted by technology, in other words the digital channels won’t recognise the colours I have on my original word docs. This is the first writing I’ve produced on this subject for nearly 20 years. So far I’ve received positive interest from Wang Chung, Jon Farriss (INXS) and two have appeared on artist websites ( and The latter seems to work ok devoid of any colour so maybe I’ll post them here as is. I hope that when the work I have hitherto produced appears they provide another way of seeing, and prove both interesting and thought provoking. I remainĀ grateful to anyone tuning in to both the blog and the colour of sound!


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