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MissAnthrope's avatar

How clearly can you envision music in your head?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21491points) September 11th, 2010

Music seems to stick in my head really, really well. If I sit and “listen”, I can almost hear a piece of music in my head, start to finish, kind of like there’s a radio on low volume playing. The instruments, nuances of the song, etc. Like a radio. Sometimes, it’s so clear that it’s like I’m hearing it with my ears.

I got to thinking about this last night and I am curious how many of you are able to do it, as well. Bonus question: are you a musician?

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14 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I actually see it, beyond sound. Music is a visual to me, and all I need is one time and it’s there forever.

I’m glad that doesn’t happen with ex-girlfriends

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Nope. I almost never create images of music. It’s totally auditory for me.

I took violin lessons and piano lessons when I was a kid, but it didn’t stick. I don’t consider myself a musician.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I think I can see it pretty well in my head. I got this “special connection” with The Lion Sleeps Tonight. I can play the drums and I can play the flute, but I stopped telling people that when that movie came out.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@MissAnthrope – I can do what you do, as well. I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t.

Kayak8's avatar

I am a musician and I can both hear and see it.

MissAnthrope's avatar

When you guys say you see it, can you explain?

llewis's avatar

Yup, I can hear a piece of music in my head, full instrumentation, start to finish. I can modify it, too, if I want. I visualize things to music sometimes, too – sometimes abstract color designs, sometimes something approaching a music video or dramatization. And yes, I’m a musician, from a long line of musicians.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I’ve got this little scene that plays in my head of a fight for the stage between the lead singer of the Tokens and the opera lady. I envision the whole thing based on the lyrics and they way they sing them. With ither songs I like to think about the singer singing the song and the whole orchestra/band playing it. My favorite ones are the old standards like Beyond the Sea. I imagine a whole ballroom, Fred & Ginger dance routine to it. I hope that’s what you meant.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, I absolutely can play out music in my head and it is always perfect in my head, but I don’t ever “see” music.

Randy's avatar

I’m a musician and I can also see and hear it. I hear it like you do, @MissAnthrope and often, I can “hear” music I’ve never heard, if that makes sense. That’s usually where I end up getting my own music ideas or at least the base melody. When I see the music, I see it in tablature. Here’s a tab of Star Crossed by Scary Kids Scaring Kids to give you an idea if you don’t know what tabs are. I always see in “guitar tab style” even if it’s a beat or on a non-stringed instrument. It can get pretty complex depending on the instrument and how complex it is. It can get hard to explain.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Cool. :)

I also sometimes hear music for real (with my ears) when there isn’t any music, just random ambient sounds being assembled by my brain into a song.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I see colors and vibrations in my mind which represent musical textures. It was not always this way. 35 years ago, I began singing in a band. Untrained, I torched my vocal chords in order to hear myself over the loud teenagers I was playing with. A stupid high school rock band who’s biggest achievement was a fairly decent rendering of Ballroom Blitz. I strained and strained to keep up with the electrified instruments, and in that straining I began to see two things.

The first, is identical to the little squiggly worms that most people have seen before whilst driving really tired. I think most people have at one time or another been hypnotized by the road enough to see those little squiggly worms in the side of our vision. Well, I started seeing them while singing too.

The second, is when I saw red. Yes, you know the old saying “I saw red”… usually attributed to when someone is so angry that a filter of red comes over their vision, well I began seeing that shade of red come over my vision when I strained too hard singing.

Since then, I’ve been able to envision all forms of music into shapes and vibrating textures. A flute becomes a dancing white ribbon. A base is a large dark liquid pool rippling across its surface in conjunction with the notes being played. A soloist guitar becomes waves of smokey color wafting through my mind.

It’s not unlike some of the best music visualizer programs that are available for computers. But it’s not the same either. The visions in my head are much better defined with depth in their textures. It’s like I’m swimming in it and able to move around in the most inner spongy core. I don’t find it hard to explain at all. But I can understand that it may be difficult to understand. I’ve heard that some people have this same relationship to mathematics, seeing all math as colors and shapes. I can’t do that… yet.

downtide's avatar

Very, very clearly. In fact even when there’s no music actually playing, I’m usually listening to something in my head. I do sometimes “see” music – it was something that I experienced more when I was younger; now it’s something that only happens if I close my eyes and focus totally on the music.

28lorelei's avatar

I don’t have synesthesia, but I can visualize music very clearly down to the instruments and individual notes (including harmony), and often I have new ideas for pieces that don’t exist yet. When that happens, it’s good to have some paper and a pen handy.

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