We see the sound
1. “Sound + color”?
The property of sounds to cause color images was noticed long ago. Much has been 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. Rambo even wrote a vowel sonnet in which he painted the sounds like this:
A – black; white – E; And – red; Y – green;
O – blue: I will tell you their secret in my turn …
But the French linguist K. Nirop attributed to the vowels completely different colors: he considered Y as blue, Y as bright yellow, A as red. The German linguist A. Schlegel wrote that for him AND is sky blue, A is red, O is purple. But the Russian poet A. Belyi asserted that A appears to him as white, E as yellow-green, E as blue, Y as black, O as bright orange. If you continue to call individual judgments about the color of the vowels, then each sound will be painted in all the colors of the rainbows.
So, in this case, are there any definite sound-color correspondences? Is it not a fantasy? Or, maybe, accidentally arising unstable associations between sound and color? Is it possible that sound communication is a consequence of the extremely finely arranged mechanisms of perception of individuals? Different answers were given to these questions, but most often they agreed that the connection “sound of speech – color” is a rare purely individual phenomenon.
2. General provisions of the theory
Modern science recognizes the phenomenon existing only when it is either directly observed, or reproducibly manifests itself in experiments, or is strictly calculated. Moreover, in any case, the last word remains with practice: it is necessary that the phenomenon observably function or reveal traces of its action.
But where it comes to the human psyche, everything looks different. Science, as a “roadside picnic,” penetrates into this area rarely and with difficulty, and, having penetrated, stumbles upon incomprehensible “full soothers,” which it cannot open with its tools.
Mental phenomena are most often not directly observed, in experiments, they appear, then no, they are poorly calculated, and the traces of their functioning are uncertain, unsteady, irregular. Especially in the subconscious. Here, say, intuition. Everyone can remember cases when, as it seems to us, the right decision or act was prompted to us by intuition.
Moreover, as it turned out in the process of working on artificial intelligence, a person in difficult situations makes a decision not by going through all the possible options, but heuristically, unconsciously, intuitively finds the right path. But on the other hand, intuition, in fact, often brings. How can we understand when intuition whispers a right decision to us, and when they trick us into a dead end?
So it is with sound color matches. If they exist, then who is right – A. Rambo or A. White? Whose intuition is more correct?
The idea of experiments is simple: the reaction of many subjects to a certain stimulus is recorded, and then the statistical processing of the obtained material follows to reveal the main tendencies in the reactions. The registration technique is varied: the subjects are either given speech sounds – they need to pick up colors for them, or different color cards are shown – they need to write sounds on them, or they are given the task to build sounds by color, say from “the reddest” to “least red”, from “very blue” to “least blue”, etc.
Many such experiments with thousands of informants showed that in the overwhelming majority of the subjects, at least the vowels are stained in a very definite way. Opinions concerning the three vowels are particularly unanimous – A, E, I. The sound and the letter (sound) is quite consistently called red, E is clearly green, and I is definitely blue. Zvukobukvu O is considered by all to be bright and bright, but although most of the subjects call it yellow, the answers are quite common: “white.” It turns out that it is sunny.
Note that linguists consider the vowels A, O, E, And the main, supporting for the human speech apparatus and the main in all languages. And physicists consider the main colors corresponding to this vowel, because their combinations give all the other colors and shades. What is the use of color photography, color television. Is it not surprising that in the language of correspondence the main colors turned out to be the most clear?
Apparently, the “collective intuition” of people manifests itself here: the color arrangement of the world is reflected in the color arrangement of the language. The names of the main colors are found most often in speech, and the sounds A, O, E, And are the most frequent of the vowels. And in turn, a connection is traced between the names of the primary colors and these vowels: the name of a certain color contains, respectively, a “colored” sound, and it occupies the most important, percussive position in the word: red, blue.