Chromesthesia: Background information when reading The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

by Natasha Pulley

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley X
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2015, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2015, 336 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sharry Wright
Buy This Book

About this Book

Chromesthesia

This article relates to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Print Review

Synesthesia, which manifests in many different forms, is a condition where two or more senses intertwine. For example, Thanial, one of the main characters in The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street, "sees" music. For him, notes, voices and other sounds are perceived as specific colors. He has chromesthesia, a form of synesthesia where a person associates a sensation (usually hearing) with color.

While the concept of synesthesia has been recorded since at least the early nineteenth century, it was only in the 1980s that research into the phenomenon really started to take off and since the '90s has been the subject of research papers and novels. While scientists are still uncertain about the exact mechanisms of synesthesia, many believe that it's caused by a kind of cross-wiring of the neurons and synapses in the brain, so a sensation in one area automatically sets off a perception in another. The condition presents on a spectrum, with those affected experienced varying different levels of synesthesia.

A visual representation of chromesthesiaPeople with chromesthesia are said to receive a double "whack" of input to color perception centers of the brain, from both visual and auditory stimuli. Although relatively rare, it turns out that chromesthesia and music often go together. While it is commonly stated that many musicians have chromesthesia, it's probably more the case that among people with chromesthesia, a significant number are musicians. For example, a study evaluated a sample of 82 synaesthetes and asked questions about how much time they engaged in art. Synaesthetes were found to have a tendency to spend more time engaging in creative disciplines, relative to non-synaesthetes. Different degrees of creativity were also linked to the type of synaesthesia experienced. For example, people who had chromaesthesia were more likely to play musical instruments than other synaesthetes.

The Classic FM website profiles many musicians with chromesthesia. For instance, the French pianist Hélène Grimaud saw D minor, "the most dramatic and poignant [note as] blue," and C minor as black. She discovered her chromesthesia playing Bach when she was 11 years old as the notes on the piano created "something that was very bright, between red and orange, very warm and vivid." The Russian composer Alexander Scriabin saw E-flat major as a reddish purple while the key of D major was golden-brown. On the other hand, Rimsky-Korsakov stated that E-flat major was blue, B major was a "gloomy dark blue with a steel shine" and the key of C major was white. And Itzhak Perlman, the Israeli-American violinist, described B-flat on the G string as deep forest green and A on the E string as red. When speaking about his composition "Rhapsody in Blue," George Gershwin is reported to have said, "I took 'blues' and put them in a large and more serious form." It is assumed that he also had chromesthesia.

Musician Franz Liszt is said to have chided the orchestra he was conducting, that their tone was too rose, that it needed to be deep purple — a scolding that might not have worked even if others in the orchestra had chromesthesia since the type of color that a particular sound evokes in one person is not necessarily the same for another. Other famous musicians known to have had this condition are Jean Sibelius, Olivier Messiaen, and György Ligeti who linked sounds with both colors and shapes. Hip-hop producer Pharrell Williams and musician Billy Joel also have chromesthesia.

Picture of visual representation of chromestheisa from noisey.vice.com

Article by Sharry Wright

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. It first ran in the July 22, 2015 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket: Marilou Is Everywhere
    Marilou Is Everywhere
    by Sarah Elaine Smith
    "The point is that at that moment in my life," writes the narrator of Sarah Elaine Smith's debut ...
  • Book Jacket: Let's Call It a Doomsday
    Let's Call It a Doomsday
    by Katie Henry
    However the world will end, Ellis Kimball is ready for it. Her obsessive stash of survivalist ...
  • Book Jacket: The Winemaker's Wife
    The Winemaker's Wife
    by Kristin Harmel
    Liv Kent's world is falling apart. After 12 years of marriage, her husband has decided he's done, ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Yale Needs Women
    by Anne Gardiner Perkins

    A tale of courage in the face of arrogance that remains eerily relevant on U.S. campuses today.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Secrets We Kept
    by Lara Prescott

    Reese Witherspoon's Sept Book Club Pick!
    "This is the rare page-turner with prose that’s as wily as its plot."—EW
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson

A story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Chase Darkness with Me

How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders

Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

S S A C A Big S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.