Musical synesthesias

There are many types of synesthesia relating to music. The links lead to the pages on this site about each specific type (or subtype).

Other combinations of the inducer and concurrent pairings in this list are also possible of course - combinations such as musical modes-taste, for example - but they haven't been included as they are rare or have never been reported.

Synesthesias with a musical inducer and a VISUAL concurrent:


Tone-colour (musical note-colour)


Key signature-colour

Musical mode-colour

Timbre-colour (musical instruments)

Timbre-shape (timbre-colour and timbre-shape often occur together)

Song-colour and musical genre-colour

Voice-colour/shape (for singing voices)

Parts of song structure (chorus, bridge, verse)-colour

Spatial sequence with musical concepts as a trigger (songs, genres or parts of songs, for example, have a consistent spatial position in your mind)

Images seen in creative/musical trance (a phenomenon that could perhaps be considered a type of musical synesthesia)

Synesthesias with a musical inducer and NON-VISUAL concurrents:


Sound-texture (in response to music)

Musical note-texture

Personification of musical sequences (tones, chords, keys, timbre, melody)

Auditory-olfactory (timbre-smell, tone-smell or musical note-smell, chord-smell, key signature-smell, song-smell, musical genre-smell)

Voice-smell (for voices heard singing; mentioned on the page on auditory-olfactory synesthesia)

Auditory-gustatory (includes timbre-taste, tone or musical note-taste, chord-taste, key signature-taste, song-taste, musical genre-taste)


Song/musical genre-taste

Voice-taste (for voices heard singing)


Auditory-motor (when sounds trigger involuntary movements; related to auditory-tactile synesthesia)

Synesthesias with DIFFERENT INDUCERS and AUDITORY CONCURRENTS (musical notes, tones or frequencies)

Colour-musical notes

Taste-musical notes (gustatory-auditory synesthesia)

Smell-musical notes (olfactory-auditory synesthesia)

Pain-musical notes (pain-sound synesthesia)


Other phenomena and types of synesthesia related to music in some way:

Dance steps-colour (see either kinetics-colour or coloured sequence synesthesia)

Music triggering figurative images, landscapes or “music videos” (not considered a type of synesthesia although it can accompany it)

This page last updated: 22 June 2024


  1. You should put musical-space

    1. Hi! That isn’t considered a type of synesthesia in its own right, even though spatial perceptions do accompany the concurrents of the music-to-visual types of synesthesias: as well as colour and/or shape, the photisms have position and often movement and direction (except for the type where music just produces the general impression of a colour in your mind).

      In theory somebody could have a type of synesthesia where different types of music have different directions but no other visual photisms at all, but I don’t think I’ve read of anybody who’s reported this.

      If musical concepts such as particular songs, genres or parts of songs have a consistent spatial position in your mind, that would fit into the “Spatial sequences of concepts” category, even though it isn’t exclusively musical, so I’ve included that.

      Thank you!

    2. To Pau: I completely disagree., unless I am not properly understanding what you have said. There is "tonal spatial" synaesthesia, highly and involuntarily visual, with color or black/whie/gray lines that move and have texture, spread out onto a live movie screen, moving from right to left. It is among the very rarest of all synaesthesia. I have had lifelong experience of this, having it only further developed into massive details as I get older. I am almost 55, with 8 children. I am a composer. My mother has 2 other types, which my children possess (and I do as well). It runs in families through the mothers generally.

    3. Yes, it’s perfectly valid to have a major spatial component in your perceptions, and yours is a class example of it.
      It’s just that as far as I know it’s never been “officially” considered a type.
      I will be adding something to the Tree on auditory-spatial manifestations, and it will be soon. Unfortunately as I have to research it a bit, write it, decide where to put it, make all the links etc. it’s taking a while as I'm short of time. But it will appear one day soon.
      Thanks for telling us about your case!