Music-Colour Synaesthesia:

A conceptual correspondence

Caroline Curwen

Caroline Curwen, GMusRNCM, FCA (ICAEW), MA

Caroline is from Stockport and is a part-time PhD candidate in the Department of Music researching music-colour synaesthesia. She holds a GMus RNCM from the Royal Northern College of Music and an MA in Psychology of Music from Sheffield University. Caroline is also a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Caroline's Projects

Caroline’s research explores a form of synaesthesia also known as chromesthesia, or coloured hearing, that arises on hearing music. The focus of her interest is the examination of how the shapes and colours experienced by some when listening to music may be more conceptual in nature (rather than purely perceptual as has been more commonly examined) by forming a semantic mechanism for representing abstract concepts, and that they may be grounded in action similar to embodied music cognition.

Synaesthesia also presents challenges to established philosophical theories and highlights how our experiences of the world often differ somewhat from one individual to another. The cross disciplinary element of synaesthesia research offers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the processes of general consciousness and cognition from person to person.

Caroline's Publications

Curwen, C. (2018). Music-colour synaesthesia: Concept, context and qualia. Consciousness and Cognition, 61, 94–106.

Curwen, C. (2020). Music-colour synaesthesia: A sensorimotor account. Musicae Scientiae.

Recent events:

Colourama at the Festival of the Mind, 20-27 Sept 2018


Music-colour synaesthesia Podcast