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                                August 25, 1991
             This file is from the Journal of General Psychology,
                               3:377-287, 1930.
                   Tone Shapes : A Novel Type of Synathesia
                             by Michael J. Zigler
  1. ——————————————————————-

Vangard Note…

          Synathesia (SynEthesia  in modern parlance) is the confusion of
          senses.  Such phenomena allows  the  subject  to  "see sounds",
          hear colors,  etc..  Any of the senses can be  mixed  with  any
          other sense as a means of perceiving in a different manner.
          This file  is  placed  on KeelyNet because it refers to a novel
          ability to see the geometric  forms of sound without the direct
          use of Chladni waveplates (vibrating plates covered  with  sand
          and excited by sound).
  1. ——————————————————————-

The attention of the writer has recently been called to the

     occurrence in the experience of two Wellesley College undergraduates
     of an unique type of synaesthesia  in  which  the  sound  of each of
     several musical instruments  is  accompanied  by a distinctive  TRI-
     The fact that  musical sounds are associated with color impressions,
     photisms, bidimensional patterns, etc. in the experiences of certain
     persons has been  reported  in various  places  since  Goethe  first
     mentioned the existence of this type of synaesthesia.
     The writer has  been unable, however, to discover  anywhere  in  the
     literature descriptions of   synaesthetic  phenomena  in  which  the
     patterns excited by musical instruments  are CLEARLY tri-dimensional
     in form.  (3D)
     Summary.  We have   reported   two  cases  of  a   novel   type   of
     synaesthesia.  In which  the  tones of different musical instruments
     give rise to correspondingly DIFFERENT tri-dimensional shapes.
     Every instrument excites a specific  form,  which  maintains roughly
     the same features at all pitches, intensities and durations.
                                    Page 1
     The higher pitches  occasion  smaller  and  lighter,  the lower ones
     larger and darker shapes.
     The forms may appear in colors, but  color is not always present and
     always plays a role secondary TO THAT OF FORM.
     These phenomena occur chiefly in solo rendition,  and  possess  high
     aesthetic appeal.  One subject has experienced the forms as far back
     as she can remember, the other discovered suddenly several years ago
     her capability of  realizing  them,  and  they  have since gradually
     somewhat improved in definiteness.
     There are striking differences in  the forms of the two subjects for
     the same instrument, but the general conditions of their arousal and
     alteration have many points in common.
     In view of  this  fact,  the  interpretation is made  that  the  two
     subjects represent a single type of synaesthesia.  Evidences for and
     against the hereditary  and  acquired  theories,  although  somewhat
     favoring the latter view, are inconclusive.
     Relationship of these shapes to EIDETIC  imagery is suggested in the
     almost perceptual character of the phenomena, especially in the case
     of Subject A, as well as in the fact that for Subject  B  under  all
     circumstances and for A under the more difficult conditions of their
     arousal, the shapes are realized under voluntary attention.
  1. ——————————————————————-

Instrument Subject A Subject B

       Flute         Thimble or acorn cup      Hollow tube
       Saxophone     Cup with solid inner      Bursting of a mass into
                     core                      rough, jagged, and
                                               splintery particles
       Bugle         Morning glory or pipe     Sphere with opening on
                                               upper side
       Harmonica     Series of spatially       Flat rectangle
                     distributed discs
       Jazz whistle  Thick waving streamer     Lumpy dough-like
                                               elongated mass
       Simplexophone Dagger                    Megaphone of very vague
       Musical saw   Elongated globule with    Yards and yards of round
                     jagged surface            ribbon-like material
       Cello         Flat horizontal base      Thick ribbon
                     with spring-like vertical
       Violin        Tube with enlarged        Ribbon much thinner and
                     nodules                   smaller than that of cello
       Piano         Quadrangular blocks       Spheres
                                    Page 2
  1. ——————————————————————-

Vangard notes…

         The discrepancy  in  the  forms  seen by the two subjects is the
         most disturbing feature of the  article.   Either  our  subjects
         were faking or there is a perceptual "translation"  method which
         differs between subjects.
         In addition,  the work of Persinger with very low level magnetic
         fields (lower than the Earth's  natural  magnetic  field)  shows
         that hallucinations and "eidetic" imagery can be induced.  It is
         even possible that the magnetic field in a very small local area
         can be modulated to induce such images.  We must also not forget
         magnetic phosphenes, generated by pressure on the closed eyelids
         to produce flashes of light in the eye.
         The late  Hans  Jenny  was attempting to construct  a  means  of
         viewing forms created from sound waves in three dimensions.
         Being aware   that   John   Keely  used  Chladni  waveplates  as
         analytical tools in his research  with  complex  vibrations,  we
         must also pursue such a line of investigation.
         Jenny used some form of very fine plastic pellets  which  had  a
         degree of  cohesiveness.   This tendency to "stick" assisted the
         formation of a structure in  the  Z  axis  (height)  and kept it
         together.  Another  approach used by Jenny was  magnetized  iron
         filings which  also  tended  to  stick  together  and  form most
         interesting patterns.
         In the late 70's, one of the popular magazines (I believe it was
         Popular Science), reported on  a substance called "Ferro-Fluid".
         When placed  in a container and held over a speaker  magnet,  it
         formed very complex 3 dimensional patterns.
         Ferro-Fluid seems to have been very fine metal filings suspended
         in an  oil in the form of an emulsion.  An address was given for
         those wishing to buy it, but we have yet to locate the article.
         One of our approaches will be a very light, clear oil, something
         like vegetable or mineral oil,  to hold such magnetized filings.
         This should  provide a beginning for the study of  3-dimensional
         forms induced by sounds.
  1. ——————————————————————-
       If you  have comments or other information relating to such topics
       as  this paper covers,  please   upload to KeelyNet or send to the
         Vangard  Sciences  address  as  listed  on the  first  page.
            Thank you for your consideration, interest and support.
         Jerry W. Decker.........Ron Barker...........Chuck Henderson
                           Vangard Sciences/KeelyNet
  1. ——————————————————————-

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