While certain music might take you to a memory, a feeling or evoke a mood, there are some people in the world who actually see colours from the music.
It’s a rare neurological condition called chromesthesia, which affects roughly one in 3000 people, and for them, listening to a certain genre or musical piece can automatically trigger different colour visualisations associated with the sound.
The team at Home Advisor conducted an experiment where they matched colours to music genres. They enlisted the help of two people with chromesthesia, Michael and Rachel, and had them listen to various Billboard chart songs from different musical genres.
In doing this, they examined what colours each musical genre evoked and whenever the two participants had matching colours, they were added to that genre’s colour palette.
After the study, Home Advisor has come up with different living room palettes, so for the majority of us mere mortals without the rare gift of seeing colours from music, you can take a look at how particular genres match your home decor tastes.
Here’s how the colours and the decor matched up:
Colour palette one: Rock
Room one was inspired by songs like Ozzy Osbourne’s Under the Graveyard, with heavy rock, gruff voices and guitar strums a plenty. Rachel saw colours in tones of brown like tortilla, tawny, and champagne, while Michael saw darker colours – “artichoke with shadow accents, and small hits of crimson”.
“Different instruments carry their own colour, blending with the hue of the notes being played on them and with the way each artist plays that note,” Rachel says. “But these colours also have a sort of texture, like metallic, wet, velvets, speckled or smatterings of paint on a screen. The smoother the vocals, the more petal-like the sound.”
Colour palette two: Country
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the colour palette that both Rachel and Michael saw when exposed to country music was full of dusty brown, deep red and white tones.
“Country is such a brown genre in my head,” says Rachel. “All the acoustics and loose vibrations without enough rich or diverse musical elements can be monochromatic, but there were some songs that brought a little something else.”
Colour palette three: Pop
While you may think pop music would create the brightest room of the bunch, the pop room is quite tame.
The genre evoked the colours of navy, abalone, and cream for Michael. Rachel, on the other hand, describes experiencing an array of colours for this genre – Maya blue and jade green, gold and byzantine.
Colour palette four: RnB
According to Home Advisor, this was the one genre where the colours from both participants almost completely matched.
The palette of champagne, charcoal, cream, lime, pearl and Prussian blue seems to speak of the genre’s refined, bassy arrangements and mellow moods.
Colour palette five: Rap
Perhaps the most unusual and unsuspected colour pallet is the rap room, as bright and bold as can be.
Rap music makes use of so many different samples beneath the lyrics, and Home Advisor suggest this may be the reason for the vast array of colours seen.
From cream to fire, pearl and hot pink, the colours cover the spectrum in both hue and intensity. Styling all these colours at once would be a challenge, but never say never.