To experience euphoria is a pretty amazing thing. It’s something, I think, that is difficult to experience in life. There’s happiness and contentment and that feeling of well-being, but euphoria is on a different level altogether.
With my synesthesia comes a whole lot of personification. Think of it as you like someone and certain things remind you of their idiosyncrasies, or their name or something about them. They like a band and you see a poster of that band, reminding you of that person and by extension their like of that band. As soon as I get to know someone, or I like someone or particularly have feelings for a person, the most minute characteristics and bits of their personality start being virtually ‘flung in my face’ via music.
Visualize it this way: With the spatial context, instruments and cues ascending or descending in notes are literally going up or down or away or changing in space. Then imagery comes along almost as a backdrop, and the kind of textures or shapes I see that make up the structure of comprehension of their personality and traits mesh, and often it will adapt to those musical shapes perfectly. I suddenly ‘see’ a person and their personality meshing with what I’m enjoying, and often it gives me euphoria.
It says something about the thoughts and the feelings involved. ‘Echo Beach’ by Martha and the Muffins is a good example. In the chorus, the bass is ascending in notes quickly. GG-AA-BB-CC-DD-D…notice the separate ‘D’ note at the end that is played kind of extra and off from the other notes. It is in line with the guitar, which is sort of strummed once, quickly, at the beginning, fades…and then suddenly strums twice in staccato at the same time as the last two D notes of the bass. The chord at the beginning is different from the second two at the end, probably a G chord and then a D chord. Strummed twice in staccato. That’s an important aspect I’ll explain later. Alongside all of this plays an organ of sustained notes. F# (sharp). From the beginning to the second ‘D’ note, it stays there, and then goes to F. F#.....F-D-F-F#....
This is a three-second piece of music of course. I added the lyric below the diagram to give it some context of how long this bit is. Very short. But add in the people. The literal bass line I added is just a kind of guideline for everything else to follow, I don’t really see anyone in particular (unless it’s me) when I hear it. But the guitar and organ are different stories altogether. My friend Arthur is a positive, enthusiastic person who will boastfully greet anyone that pays the smallest of attention to him. When I think of him I think of someone who enjoys fun and interaction. And when I hear the guitar as it strums those two staccato notes, his enthusiasm and interest suddenly becomes so instantly obvious that it makes me happy. It’s almost like hearing his loud, happy greeting (“Yes Boss!”). The organ has always been a feminine sound to me, and it has always made me think of certain female faces, a type that I tend to be attracted to. It’s a happy sound and it’s like things are moving smoothly and happily, the way the note is sustained while the bass changes notes alongside it. Perhaps the bass is like the movement of time, the way it ascends.
If I were to see Arthur and one of the girls I’ve known who has that face together wit that song’s chorus playing, it would mesh the positive attributes I see them them together perfectly and it’s like I have visual accompaniment with the two people actually near each other, so that perfection gives me that elusive euphoria. It matches. It’s perfect. It’s taking everything I like about them – and throwing it point-blank in my face, making everything just happy and awesome. Euphoria.
I have an entire article on my personal blog about synesthesia and how I see the B major/minor chord.
Justin S. Campbell
Justin Scott Campbell (born June 22nd, 1991) is a writer & photographer from Ottawa, Canada. He holds a diploma in Photography and is completing one in writing. His interests particularly include writing songs both lyrically and musically, archiving and taking aerial photos, keeping records, and sometimes researching human attraction. He was diagnosed at the age of twelve as high-functioning with Asperger’s Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum disorder, and was born with Synesthesia. He is an only child, left-handed, hates math and loves uniqueness, or originality.