Jim Rickson • Piano Technician 772.323.4676

A fascinating condition of the mind that some composers, musicians AND piano tuners experience is auditory-visual synaesthesia (spelled also “synesthesia”).  They SEE sound (in their mind’s eye) simultaneously upon hearing it. This is no pataphor, but an actual cause and effect stimulation in the brain which has been verified using functional MRI scanning.

For myself, piano tones appear as a kind of shaft of light, glass, or jewels. When a piano unison (single key) is quite out of tune, the shaft is very busy with seemingly colliding and clashing frequencies of light which mingle non-complementing colors. Its borders and margins are not well-defined either. It would look a bit like television-snow with a sort of grotesque mix of colors thrown in. However, when a unison is perfectly in tune the image clarifies and a single hue dominates. Instead of the busy static, the light is clear and glows warmly with…

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