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Russian writer F. M. Dostoevsky told how in 1848 the composer Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka visited the Society of lovers of literature. He then played Chopin, Gluck and his own compositions.…

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We see sound (part 1)

“I weighed the sound, measured and calculated
In the mystery of the word cunning penetrated.
And intelligent evil I have planned –
Gland to betray your living language…”
(A. Zhuravlev)
1. “Sound + color” ?
The property of sounds to cause color images has been seen for a long time. A lot was written about the color hearing of A. Scriabin, who saw musical sounds in color. The whole trend in art – color music – is based on this property of the sounds of music.There is evidence that speech sounds, especially vowels, can also be perceived in color. A. Rimbaud even wrote a sonnet “Vowels”, which is so colored sounds:

A – black; white – S; I – red; Y – green;
O – blue: the secret of their say my turn…

But the French linguist K. Nirop attributed to vowel different color; he believed And – blue, Y – yellow, And red. The German linguist A. Schlegel wrote that for him And – sky-blue, And – red, About – purple. But the Russian poet A. Bely claimed that he A seems white, E – yellow-green, And – blue, U – black, O – bright orange. If we continue to call individual judgments about the color of vowels, then each sound will be colored in all colors of the rainbows.

So are there any specific sound-color matches at all in this case? Not fancy it? Or, perhaps, accidentally arising unstable associations between sound and color? And it is possible that the audio connection – a consequence of exceptionally finely arranged mechanisms of perception of individuals? These questions were given different answers, but most often converged on the fact that the connection “sound of speech – color” – a rare purely individual phenomenon.
2. General provisions of the theory

Modern science recognizes the phenomenon exists only when it is either directly observed, or reproducible manifests itself in experiments, or is strictly calculated. And in any case, the last word remains with practice: it is necessary that the phenomenon is observed to function or to find traces of its action.

But where we are talking about the human psyche, everything looks different. In this area of science as in the area of “roadside picnic”, yet rarely penetrates with difficulty, and, entering, stumbles upon a strange “complete dummy” who reveal their tools can not.

Psychic phenomena often are not directly observed, in experiments it is manifest, then no, the calculation of the yield to the bad, and the traces of their operation is uncertain, shaky, irregular. Especially in the subconscious. Here is, say, intuition. Everyone can remember cases when, as it seems to us, the right decision or action was prompted to us by intuition.

Moreover, as it turned out in the process of work on artificial intelligence, a person in difficult situations does not make a decision by going through all the possible options, but heuristically, subconsciously, intuitively finds the right way. But on the other hand, intuition after all, and fails often. How do you know when intuition whispers to us the right decision, and when the tricky push us to a dead end?

Here and with sound-color correspondences. If they exist, who is right – A. Rimbaud or A. White? Whose intuition is true?

The idea of the experiments is simple: the reactions of many subjects to a certain stimulus are recorded, and then the statistical processing of the obtained material follows to identify the main trends in the reactions. The technique of registration is diverse: the subjects are either presented with the sounds of speech – you want to pick up colors for them, or presented with different color cards – you want to write sounds on them, or you are given the task to build sounds by color, say, from “the red” and to “the least red”, from “the blue” and to “the least blue”, etc.

Many such experiments with thousands of informants have shown that the vast majority of subjects color at least the vowels quite definitely. Especially the unanimous opinion on the three vowels – A, E, I. Sound and letter (Zvukovye) And quite consistently called red , E – green, clear, And definitely blue. Zvukovuyu About all consider bright and vivid, but although the majority of participants call it yellow, yet quite often the answer is “white”. It turns out that it is Sunny.

Note that linguists consider vowels A, O, E, And basic, basic to the human vocal apparatus and the main in all languages. A physics major believe it appropriate transparent color, so that their combinations give all other colors and shades. And this is a color photo, a color TV. Is it not surprising that in the language of compliance with the main colors were the most clear?

Apparently, the “collective intuition” of people is manifested here: the color structure of the world is reflected in the color structure of the language. The names of the main colors are most common in speech, and the sounds of A, O, E, And the most frequent of the vowels. And between the names of basic colors and these vowels, in turn, may be traced: the name of the specific color includes, respectively, “colored” sound, and it is the word most important, impact position: red, blue.

The rest of the vowels have a tint color, as well as the colors with which they are associated, moreover, this connection is less clear – there is more variation in the opinions of the subjects. So, Y – associated with dark shades of blue: dark blue, dark blue, dark blue-green, dark purple. Sound letter Yu also associated with shades of blue, but with light: blue, light purple.

Interestingly behaves zvukovya E. In writing, it is similar to E, and the sound of O. And in terms of color, it is quite definitely located between yellow and green E. About half of the subjects calls it yellow, and half – green. So E is light, yellow-green.

But I have almost the same color not different from A, except that it is perceived as more light and bright.

As for S, we should not talk about the color, but rather about the light characteristics. If zvukovya light, S – zvukovyh darkness, darkness. It is the darkest of all vowels, and the subjects unanimously give it the darkest characteristics – dark brown, black.

Curiously, the perception, strictly speaking, consonant sound Th clearly influenced the graphic form of the letter Y, transmitting the sound. The similarity of Nd, And led to similar estimates of the color – Y is perceived as chinaespecially, although with less certainty than I.

The letter e had to be excluded from the analysis. Although it transmits almost the same sound, which in most cases is transmitted by the letter E, green sound letter e on the answers of the subjects does not work: the letter form is different. And no specific color is not associated with uh. And since e and can be found in texts rarely (much less all the other vowels), with further analysis of the texts it was decided not to consider.

Of course, not everyone zvukotsvetovye compliance is equally firmly anchored in the subconscious. There are subjects who in all experiments show clear and uniform results, coinciding with the “collective opinion” of all respondents, and there are those whose answers in different experiments are contradictory, unstable, and their answers no specific color sounds can not be traced. Well, well, because colorblind can not see the color of objects, but this does not mean that the color of objects does not exist. It is important that the majority of subjects in General consistently and fairly uniformly establish quite certain connections between sound and color, although almost no one is aware of this.

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