Conference: Synaesthesia with children
Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Hinderk Meiners Emrich / Medizinische Hochschule Hannover / Germany
Crucial questions as to the origin of synaesthesia during childhood
Neuropsychological aspects of the processes within human beings, coming into life (considering the phenomenological aspects of developmental psychology) are: how do we live?
Synaesthesia-research may – in this regard – represent a fruitful guide for understanding the relations between preconditions of the genesis of contextualities, “situations” and learning processes, which are directly coupled with the self-programming of the brain by neuroplasticity. These processes, together with the formation of “identity”, are related to the question: “how does a child cope with the unknown and ununderstandable parts of the world? In this regard synaesthesia is explored under the perspective of neuropsychological, memory-enhancing, processes – and simultaneously – the questions as to the crucial role of transmodal sensory integration and emotional experiences, relevant herein.
The hypothesis is raised, that the phenomenon “synaesthesia” may represent a guiding orientation universe (c.f. Alexandra Dittmar) which functions as a cognitional-enhancement-aid regarding situations of ambiguities and representational difficulties.
This hypothesis is related to the following questions:
1.Which emotional backgrounds may be of relevance regarding the origin of synaesthesia?
2.Which functionality may be present in the genesis of synaesthesia, if the actions of “mirror-neurons” are taken into account, e.g. in the combination of “Asperger-syndrome” and synaesthesia?
3.How can “raw feels” be separated from conscious perception in synaesthesia and which is the role of semantics in this regard? (“Top-down” vs. “bottom-up”)
4.Which are the cognitional-emotional memory-related benefits of synaesthesia in the development of children?
Hinderk M. Emrich, born 1943; 1968 MD (University of Bern); 1998 PhD (University of Munich); 1972 Habilitation in Molecular Neurobiology (Technical University of Berlin); 1973-1974 patho-physiological studies at the Pediatric Hospital, University Munich in collaboration with the Department of Physiology of Munich; 1975-1978 Postgraduate training in psychiatry, neurology and clinical psychopharmacology; 1979-1987 Group and later Department Leader of clinical psychopharmacology at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psychiatry; 1991-1992 Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin; from 1992 to 2008 Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical School, Hannover; 1999 Philosophical Doctor (University of Munich); several guest professorships, e.g. at the Universität Witten-Herdecke and the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin.
Ph.D. Sean A. Day / Trident Technical College, Charleston, SC, / USA
Synesthetes and their families: in their own words
Almost 20 years ago, in October of 1992, I began the Synesthesia List, as a means to facilitate interactions between synesthetes and those who research them. Almost immediately, one set of subscribers that I found myself dealing with was parents of synesthetes, grade school teachers and administrators dealing with synesthete students, and – most importantly – synesthete adolescents and teens themselves. Over the last two decades, these concerns of these groups have changed drastically; yet also certain issues persist.
My presentation explores the history and evolution of these changing topics, and then turns to what are today’s most prominent issues. What are the major concerns which parents express via the Synesthesia List? What resources have emerged for teachers? How are synesthete children today trying to deal with their concerns? For what issues do they seek out the help of researchers and other professionals? And for what issues do they seek out the help of their peers? To what extent has today’s internet media (e.g., Facebook and Wikipedia) facilitated and hindered these efforts? One of the major concerns, in regards to this conference, is regional differences. Are there issues unique to German, UK, US, Russian, etc. schools or synesthetes? If so, how do we address them?
Sean A. Day was born in Jackson, Michigan, U.S.A., in 1962. He obtained a B.A. and an M.A. in Anthropology, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics, with a dissertation on “Synaesthetic metaphors in English”, in which he investigated whether trends in the linguistic tropes reflect patterns in the neurological conditions. He is the founder and moderator of the Synesthesia List, began in 1992. He was also instrumental in developing the American Synesthesia Association into a registered non-profit organization, and has assisted in organizing ASA conferences, serving as the ASA President since 2000. A multiple synesthete himself, he has given talks about synesthesia in numerous different forums around the world, including in Taiwan, Russia, and Spain, and has been featured in documentaries on synesthesia presented in such countries as Australia, Ecuador, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK, as well as the US and Canada.
Anton Dorso / Lenin Moscow Pedagogical State University / Russia
Some cognitive aspects of individual manifestations in congenital synaesthesia as possible ontogenetic markers of its development in early childhood
Congenital synaesthesia is an intricate phenomenon that has its inception, wholly or partly, in childhood development. Some authors already contemplated different scenarios of its developmental instantiation (cf.: Maurer, 1993; Baron-Cohen, 1996; Day, 2012), whereas others attempted to introduce a method of identifying its specific types in school-age children (Simner, et al., 2009). However, numerous types of synaesthesia demonstrate versatile selectivity for inducers alongside their constant but ambiguous dependence on awareness, attention and thought. Therefore, no neuroscientific model can so far adequately describe their common mechanisms or origin.
Informed by the empirical findings of incremental modularisation, categorisation and unitisation (Karmiloff-Smith, Macpherson, Goldstone), I suggested separating experiential analysis (basis for the traditional classification and research) from ontogenetic one. My talk will re-emphasise some standpoints of the neurocognitive paradigm that inscribes synaesthesia within interrelations between neurological endowments and regularities of early cognition. The former is conceptualised as synaesthesia factor while the variable manifestations contingent on these interrelations are generalised as a principle of ontogenetic equivalence (Sidoroff-Dorso, 2012).
Such a reconsideration of the phenomenology of individual synaesthetic sensoria extrapolates them within the ontogenetic constraints of both perceptual attunement and symbolic-categorical cognition. This reveals that synaesthesia tends to supervene upon distinct mental formations with regular patterns of cognitive mediation. These identifiable regularities can be analysed as certain ontogenetic markers of synaesthesia with corresponding critical periods and other tendencies in its development.
The approach illuminates the neuropsychological constraints of synaesthesia that are currently positioned in the debates over the sensory-embodied substantiation of cognition (Barsalou, Goldstone, Pulvermüller, Wilson) vs. its semantic primacy (Bargh, Nikolic, Calvo). At large, it is significant for understanding (1) limitations of possible inducer-concurrent correspondences, (2) explicit and implicit learning during infant and childhood periods and (3) agentive formations in earliest cognitive ontology.
Anton V. Sidoroff-Dorso. Senior Instructor, Reader (equiv. Associate Professor) at Moscow Social Pedagogical Institute; PhD candidate at the Cross-Departmental Chair of Fundamental Psychology of Lenin Moscow State Pedagogical University; Research focus on general neurocognitive aspects of synaesthesia, synaesthetic foundations in cultural-historical psychology and cognitive anthropology. Co-author of an Anthropology of synaesthesia project, author of the operational concepts of ontogenetic equivalence and Synaesthesia Quotient. Founder and Science Monitor of www.synaesthesia.ru – Russian Synaesthesia Community.
How children paint music: theory and practice
Observing the development of synesthesia in children is crucial in our understanding of the phenomenon. How do children develop their sensory abilities and in particular their synesthetic and intersensory abilities? Theories on the development of synesthesia have been proposed by Daphne Maurer and others. In practice, synesthetic responses of children have been studied in workshops by artists and researchers. We have organized two science-art workshops on painting music with two groups of children: a group of approximately 80 children at the ages of 4 – 6 years, and a group of 24 children at the ages of 4- 7 years. After a theoretical introduction, we will show and analyze the musical paintings that resulted from the workshops in our first presentation. In our second presentation, we will invite the audience to participate in the workshop Coloured Sounds: Let's Try! to gain an insight into our methods. We will end with a discussion of statements on how our methods are applied and used in education and care for seven to twelve year old children.
Clara Froger is artist and colour consultant. Her autonomous art in different techniques reflects synaesthesia experiences. With Cretien van Campen she has investigated multi-sensory interactions. This has resulted in NeCoSyn, a method to research synaesthesia in relation to colour (http://www.synesthesie.nl/necosyn_eng.htm). She has developed a programme based on the interaction of colour and sound experiences. Together with musicians she gives performances for all ages where they improvise and interact with the audience (http://www.tipcom.nl/projectennl.html). She develops colour plans from sketch to master-plan in architecture and urban planning. She likes to share her studies and experiences in workshops, masterclasses and lectures.
Cretien van Campen is scientific researcher, author and editor in the fields of social science and fine arts. He is affiliated as a senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Social Research and moderator of Synesthetics Netherlands, the web community of synesthetes in the Netherlands. He is editor of the Leonardo online bibliography Synesthesia in Art and Science. His book The Hidden Sense: Synesthesia in Art and Science (MIT Press 2007) received international acclaim from artists and scientists. He has published in the fields of the senses, perception & art and health, happiness & well-being. www.synesthesie.nl
Prof. Ursula Ditzig-Engelhardt / University of Münster / Germany
In every painting with music there are at least three dimensions to consider: the individual expression, the cultural understanding of music and the specific musical elements. The Subject of this study is to find out traces of music itself in the diverse paintings of children.
A short introduction shows, how “auditory illusions” (Levitin) may influence the perception of the composers and the listeners. Formation of a good “Gestalt” in music will be shown by playing the “The little shepherd” from “Childrens Corner”. Debussy, the composer, might have played unconsciously with unstructured and structured musical figures.
The next step will be to find out how music impressions are fabricated by children, how they create common superior signs or shapes for their auditory impressions. The main purpose is to find out how music leaves its trace in pictures in a child´s mind.
The chosen musical examples are not familiar to the children in the age of 7-10 years. So they have to create their own pictorial signs without falling back on clichés. Examples of paintings to music from Debussy (“Clair de Lune”), Henry Cowell (“Tiger”) and Arvo Pärt (“Spiegel im Spiegel”) are analysed by this way for their specific musical meaning.
Hearing and understanding the atmosphere of music will be demonstrated with the piece of Debussy. Understanding music in a nearly philosophical way can be shown with a work of Henry Cowell. And the formal, more analytical interpretation of music, but in an unexpected intuitive way will be demonstrated with paintings to “Spiegel im Spiegel” of Arvo Pärt.
This combination of intuitive understanding of symmetrical structures could be a contradictory result for adults but not so for children.
9.1.1948 born in Tübingen; 1966-1969 pianostudy Musikhochschule Stuttgart Prof. Jürgen Uhde; 1966-1972 major study of Schoolmusic with minor in musicology Musikhochschule Stuttgart and University Tübingen; 1972 First Staatsexamen Tübingen and Stuttgart; 1974 Second Staatsexamen Hamburg; 1974 college music teacher Berlin; 1974-1978 obtain Doctorate in Systematical Musicology with the Minor in Sociology and Psychology Technical University Berlin Prof.Dr. C. Dahlhaus and Prof.Dr. Helga de la Motte-Haber; 1976-1984 Scientific Assistant for Musikdidaktik Pädagogische Hochschule and Hochschule der Künste of Berlin; 1975-1978 Piano Study for New Music with Prof. Peter Roggenkamp Lübeck; 1978 Piano Diploma Lübeck Musikhochschule; 1984-1986 contracts for Musikdidaktik on the Hochschule der Künste Berlin; 1987-1988 Musicteacher at the Gymnasium in Berlin-Kreuzberg; 1988 Contracts for Music Education at the Conservatory Hamburg; 1991 Studienrätin at the Gymnasium Osterbek Hamburg; 1992 Professor for Elementary Music Education and Instrumental Didaktik Hochschule für Künste Bremen; 1996 to Present Professor for Music Education at the Westfälische Wilhelms - University Münster
Prof. Manfred Bartel / University Aalen / Germany
Grapheme Color Synesthesia Test Component
A well known type of synesthesia is the grapheme-color synesthesia (GCS). It is well characterized and test strategies have been published. To test a larger number of people under verifiable conditions it is absolutely necessary to use a test automaton.
The GCS test automaton (GCST) should be mobile and the system control should be a globally well known human machine interface (HMI) without any language or grapheme restrictions. The GCST should be cheap in hard and software so that it is deployable even in developing nations.
All these constraints are fulfilled implementing the GCST with the help of an ANDROID touch pad computer. The software will be an app which can be shared world wide, which means that the amount of statistical data will increase dramatically. As the Unicode Standard is available it will be possible to check people which are competent in more than one graphematic system as it is well known that grapheme-color synesthesia is transferred to all graphematic systems a person knows.
1971 high school (Abitur)
1979 diploma in electrical engineering
1989 PhD in electrical engineering
03/79 - 09/83 SIEMENS AG, München
09/83 - 09/89 Technische Universität Berlin
09/89 - 06/95 SIEMENS AG, München
07/95 - 09/95 application engineer in the European Technology Center, NEC Europe - Düsseldorf
10/95 - until now professor department industrial electronic/technical informatics – University of Applied Sciences Aalen
07/00 – 03/01 Sabbatical at the University of Auckland, New Zealand
Dr. Jörg Jewanski / University of Münster / Germany
The beginning of research on synesthesia with children. Searching traces in the 19th century
Taking into account the current research results, Georg Sachs was the first documented synesthete in history. His dissertation including a self description was published in 1812. At that time Sachs was 26 years old. Succeeding single-case-reports of synesthetes also only concern adults. Where are the children? When did the theory arise that synesthesia is congenital and for this reason already appears in children? When did the theory arise that synesthesia is consistent and for this reason can be traced back till childhood? When finally appeared the first child with synesthesia? Who discovered it at which occasion? Who and when carried out the first empirical study on synesthesia with children? Who the first long-term study, starting in childhood? What were their results? A conference about Synesthesia with children seems to be a good reason to trace these questions and give answers.
Jörg Jewanski was born in Herne, Germany, in 1959. Since his musicological Ph.D. dissertation in 1996 “Is red the color of the tone c (do)?“, published in German in 1999, in which he analyzed the history of connections between colors and tones, especially from the 16th to the 18th century, his research concerning synesthesia (in a broader sense) focuses on its history, on colorlight music, the connection between synesthesia and music / visual arts, and the connection between music and the visual arts including history of film music. As an adjunct professor since 2001 he teaches music history and musicology at the University of Münster, Department Musikhochschule. He published books in German about “Color - light - music. Synesthesia and colorlight music“ (2006), “Music and visual arts in the 20th century“ (2009), and, outside of synesthesia, a historical overview “Portrait Guitar” (2011). Besides articles in journals, handbooks, and encylopedias, he gives lectures at synesthesia conferences, lastly in Alméria (2012), Brighton (2010), Granada (2009), Innsbruck (2010), Kasan (2010, 2012), and London (2011).
Christine Söffing / University of Ulm / Germany
The blank sheet. Synaesthesia as a method in artistic workshops.
To address all the senses I bring things to smell, taste, touch and hear into my painting classes with children for almost 20 years. Does a banana taste yellow? How is the smell of spring? What comes to mind when you listen to a chorus of frogs? Children do not wonder about those questions, they smell, taste, hear and paint. Light Blue Banana flavor, orange frog sounds - and so I noticed that some children apparently saw something in her mind's eye. Were the synesthetes? When I asked, do you see the sound, the smell?, again and again synaesthetically gifted children within the little artists turned out. Over time, a useful order of tasks, sensuous offers, required materials and optimum working environment showed up. With these expieriences i could distract adults of their fear of the blank page and even bring them to the idea of dancing odors.
In my lecture I report on my observations since 1992 about synesthesia in art classes with children, on the testimonies of the children, the questions of their parents, the demands on materials and space, the issues and concerns of the multipliers, show results, and ask new questions.
Christine Söffing heads the Musische Zentrum of the University of Ulm and the group EMU, gives workshops on artistic techniques and works as a museum educator. She is involved in art workshops with synesthesia in children and adults since 1992, gives educational classes about synaesthesia for teachers and kindergarten teachers, gives lectures, collects observations and uses her own color-hearing-synesthesia for her work in experimental music and sound installations. Numerous exhibitions and performances.
Alexandra Kirchner / Calw / Germany
Synaesthesia and visual imagery in children
How can awareness of one’s synesthesia affect the quality of voice and learning? In this presentation, I will share my experiences as a voice trainer in a German boy`s choir in which there are several young synesthetes.
With a film made by Christine Söffing it will be shown how young synaesthetes talk about their synesthetic perception when singing.
I experienced that awareness of one’s synesthesia effects into voice training. Not only does it support the singer’s sense of self, but it is a useful tool for developing the quality of the voice. Most of the children I`ve worked with were not aware of their synaesthesia. So I also feel it helps to have a synesthetic teacher, such as myself, in bringing out the best in these students.
In addition to that I observed that the visual imagery of young synesthetes often appears in their description of their synesthesia. Is synesthesia in children different from adults? What role does visual imagery play in children synesthesia? Is it a special form of synesthesia? I believe that it would be very interesting for researchers to look at this phenomenon closer to reveal more about consciousness in generally.
Alexandra Kirschner, voice trainer, synaesthete, Germany (firstname.lastname@example.org) studied singing at the Musikhochschule Zürich. Already in the studies she specialized in children`s voices. She has been voice trainer since 1994 in the boys choir Aurelius Sängerknaben Calw. In her work she developed a method to integrate synaesthesia in singing lessons.
Prof. Dr. Tina Seufert / University of Ulm / Germany
Synaesthesia in multimedia learning?
New technologies allow us to use multiple representations which use different sign systems or address different sensory systems, like printed text, animations, tables, sounds or narration, haptic feedback or in single cases even olfactory “information”. It seems to be fruitful for learners that multiple ways are provided to learn a single subject: e.g. pictures can easily provide an overall view of an object but specific processes can be more easily described in textual form. When learners integrate the given parts of the learning environment they might get a deeper understanding by combining perspectives, signs, sensoric modalities, different abstract levels etc.. It’s a synergetic process of combining the benefits of different types of representations.
However, research on learning with multiple representations could show that learners often struggle in using different representations effectively. Most times they choose one of the given representations but fail to integrate them into one coherent mental representation.
In my talk I want to give a theoretical overview of the cognitive processes that are needed for the described process of coherence formation and also about the pros and cons of multiple representations based on a large body of empirical research on multimedia learning. To conclude, I will present different ways of how to provide help for coherence formation in a specific learning situation or how to train general strategies that can be used to cope with multiple representations in many situations. Such strategies could and should be linked to Synaesthesia as will be discussed finally.
Since 2008 - Professor for Research on Learning and Instruction - Faculty of Engineering Science and Informatics, Ulm University
2005-2008 - Research Associate at the Department of Education at the Saarland University (Prof. Dr. Roland Brünken)
2003-2005 - Research Associate at the Department of Psychology at the University of Göttingen (Prof. Dr. Roland Brünken)
1998-2003 - Research Associate at the Department of General and Educational Psychology at the University of Landau (Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schnotz)
07.07.2008 - Habilitation at the Saarland University with a research portfolio on “Learning with multiple representations”
07.05.2003 - Doctoral Dissertation at the University of Landau with a thesis on “Coherence formation in learning with multiple representations”(summa cum laude)
1998 – 2003 - Ph.D. Studies at the University of Landau, Germany
11.04.1997 - Graduation in Psychology at the University of Landau, Germany with a diploma thesis “Conception of a professional training in psychology for dieticians – a holistic approach”
1991 – 1997 - Studies of Psychology at the University of Landau, Germany
Doc. Dr. Danko Nikolic / Institute for Advanced Studies, Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt / Germany
Dr. Jamie Ward / University of Sussex / Great Britain
Strengths and Weaknesses in People in Synaesthesia
Although synaesthesia is not, by definition, a cognitive difficulty (e.g. in the same way as dyslexia is defined by reading difficulty) and people with synaesthesia appear to function normally within society, it may nevertheless be associated with a particular pattern of strengths and weaknesses. Considering strengths, one domain in which synaesthetes perform well is memory. I will consider evidence for the suggestion that synaesthetes have better memory and will consider which aspects of memory are particularly affected. Another way in which synaesthetes differ is that they have a strong inclination towards the visual arts and, in some synaesthetes, music. This may draw upon their sensitivity in the domain of colour perception as well as drawing on the nature of experiences themselves. Finally in terms of weaknesses, difficulties in numerical cognition are frequently noted although evidence for these difficulties in adults is mixed (although synaesthetes with number forms do show differences). Although much of our evidence base comes from research on adults the effects are likely to be present, or even greater, in the younger developing brain.
Biography: He is Associate Professor at the University of Sussex in the School of Psychology. He has extensively conducted research on synaesthesia and published around 40 articles on it in the scientific literature as well as being an author of a popular-science account called ‘The Frog who Croaked Blue: Synesthesia and the Mixing of the Senses’
Dr. Mª José De Córdoba Serrano / University of Granada / Spain
Synesthesia methodologies and practices experience, teaching approaches.
Since 2009 I am teaching the subject of synaesthesia within the Master of Design, production and dissemination, entitiled: An approach to the interdisciplinary scientific study of synesthesia.
I deal with a wide range of researchers, from theorists to experimentalists in synesthesia domain, with interest in a wide variety of different approaches and didactics methodologies, in terms of creating new didactic experiences, new models and methodologies for teaching and learning all aspects of synesthesia.
We have implemented workshops and several an different didactic activities, exhibition and knowledge dissemination so that students - who will be future artistis and also teachers- can be aware of the peculiarities and the dichotomies that connote the didactics of synesthesia. The participants learn to considerate the different techniques, media, different languages, but also the profiles of the different actors that operate with diversified logics and finalities in the synesthesia didactic and research field.
Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Granada, 1994. Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts from the University of Granada. Multidisciplinary artist with more than 200 exhibitions to her credit, national and international. Her study and research about synesthesia, from the 80's, and her career in intaglio, conducive get the medal of merit of the Fine Arts, 2009, issued by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts: Ntrª Señora de las Angustias , Granada, Spain. Director General of the International Foundation arteciudad / Artecittà Nº 743 since 2005. One of her last exhibitions took place in 2009/10 at the Museum "Casa de los Tiros", an exhibition of anthology of painting, printmaking and video art.
Michael Funk / TU Dresden / Germany
Synesthesia and Philosophy – What is creativity (in handling perceptions)?
Following my reflections on "Synaesthesia and Philosophy - Questions of objective and subjective Perception" of the conference "Sinestesia 2012" in Almeria (Spain), I´m going to provide a philosophical investigation on “creativity”. What is creativity? Can we learn it? Is creativity a question (matter) of perception?
In a first step I´m going to refer to the etymology of “creativity”. In some contexts, creativity means persons or actions or even sometimes a certain result of acting. Thereby, the word is often used in a normative way, so that “creativity” expresses a value judgement too. After referring to these aspects of word history, I´m going to ask if creativity is a question of objectivity or subjectivity. What is the relation between creativity and perception (and synesthesia)? Based on my study at the Almeria-Congress, I´m going to justify the following thesis: Creativity is embodied handling of contingent situations. Contingence/contingent situations means incalculable and unpredictable constellations. In this sense, a person that is able to handle contingent situation successfully can be called “creative”. Creativity is also a question of mathematics or logics, but its basic fundament is the practical knowledge of handling the everyday life. A short section to philosophical discussions on artificial intelligence follows. With respect to “what computers can´t do” (Dreyfus), I´m going to illustrate the importance of human-embodied creativity. Creativity is more than we can implement into a computer or robot.
Michael Funk. Studied philosophy and literature in Dresden and is currently working as Assistant of Philosophy of Technology at the Institute of Philosophy at TU Dresden (Germany). He has published some articles on philosophy of music and perception. Research: Philosophy of Technology and Sciences, Bioethics and Philosophy of Music and Perception.
Karsten Greth / University of Music in Cologne/Wuppertal / Germany
Synaesthesia - the flexible usage of the term in German music pedagogy
In the arts, literature, music and science of the last 150 years the term „synaesthesia“ has been associated with many different ideas. Definitions of synaesthesia have ranged from perceptional disorders in pathological contexts to a special mode of aesthetic expression, even designating a special ability of a „new kind of human“. During the first half of the 19th century the interest in synaesthesia gradually abated. Impacts and consequences of this first „synaesthesia boom“ have been scientifically well described and evaluated.
Since the development of advanced methods of research in neurology beginning with the 1980s, the interest in synaesthesia has once again increased. Concepts of synaesthesia were (one again) applied in educational contexts, particularly with regard to efforts in multisensual learning in art and music pedagogy. At the same time clinical and psychological definitions of synaesthesia were discussed, hypotheses for its origin formulated and criteria for diagnosing it established.
Particularly through these processes, a fundamental haziness in the definitions of synaesthesia has become evident: Precisely the efforts at establishing clear definitions in neurology and psychology run contrary to a flexible and open-ended usage of the term in didactics, in which different modes of perception are considered. Distinctions between these two perspectives – educational vs. psychological contexts – are rarely seen. However in recent research in music psychology a discussion of the relevance of intermodality, i.e. linking of the perceptive senses, in both receptive and productive educational processes has begun.
The present work reviews the development of the concept of synaesthesia as a collective term in German music pedagogy since 1980, highlighting various examples of this development. Primary goal of the research is to differentiate and formulate the consistent conceptual strands, allowing for a didactic analysis of various methods of implementation.
Karsten Greth studied flute in music education and performance programmes at the Universities of Music in Saarbrücken and Cologne/Wuppertal. He is a freelance musician, teaches flute at the Bergische Musikschule in Wuppertal, and is lecturer for flute and woodwind pedagogy at the University of Music in Cologne/Wuppertal.
Solange Glasser / Paris / France
The Ambiguous Synaesthesia of Olivier Messiaen.
Born in 1908, French composer Olivier Messiaen showed prodigious musical capacities at a very young age, and became aware during his early adolescence of his ability to “see” music. While he understood that his ability to see coloured notes and chords was not common, he none the less persisted in meticulously writing and describing in detail the colours that he experienced in his compositions, including them as authentic aspects of his music. However, the question of the authenticity of this presumed idiopathic Synaesthesia remained. Did his research into sound-colour correspondences stem from a case of idiopathic synaesthesia, or was he simply a child of his time: an époque rich in experiments searching for a confluence of the arts, which nourished his creative genius and extraordinary capacity for synthesis? There is a third possibility: that of an induced, but decisively acquired Synaesthesia, provoked by extreme environmental conditions during the second world war, which in his case may have triggered synaesthetic hallucinations. Studying the case of Messiaen has given us the chance to explore the effects of his presumed Synaesthesia on his compositional style and objectives, as well as posing the question as to the role that this presumed Synaesthesia may have played in the development of his creative genius, and of his extraordinary ability to synthesize and juxtapose disparate elements within his works. In using Messiaen as an example, it is possible to consider that this metaphoric capacity is perhaps one of the keys to the understanding of creativity in general.
Solange Glasser began her tertiary education in 1999, studying violin performance and musicology at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Australia. She published her Honours thesis under the title “Music, the Brain, and Amusia”: the first of her explorations into the neuro-mechanisms of music and creativity. In 2004 she was accepted into the musicology program of the University of Paris IV, Sorbonne, where she successfully completed a Licence and Masters in Musicology, publishing her Masters mémoire under the title La synesthésie équivoque d’Olivier Messiaen (“The Ambiguous Synaesthesia of Olivier Messiaen”). Solange is currently undertaking a diploma of Orchestral Conducting at the Municipal Conservatorium of Paris, and finalising her Doctoral inscription where she hopes to be able to continue her study of the influence of synaesthesia on musical creation.
Dr. Arnold Wohler / Neuburg an der Donau / Germany
Why does the child paint pictures the way it paints? Synesthesia as meaningful scheme in the drawing of the child.
Synesthesia can be described as cognitive sceme of brain that links cognitive representations of sensory perception consistently and uniformly with each other. For example, the cognitive representation of a certain visual form and that of a certain color within the visual brain. If brain detects this particular form out of the viusal data flow it might generate not only the perception of this form but also the perception of a certain color by activating such a scheme. Accordingly, the consciousness is getting aware this form as a colored formation, that corresponds to a semantic function of synesthesia.
Considering the fact that specific functions of brain are not developed yet, we can sepose that in the age of the early childhood the brain primarily operates with such inate schemes to interprete sensory sensations. A child’s drawing can give us an insight on this issue. Forms and colors which are used by the child to place meaningful concepts into the picture can be considered as a collection of visual brain's schemes: In this sense the paintig offers us how schemes are organized within the visual brain of child.
The form’s cognitive representation within the visual brain that is appropriate, for example, to represent the meaning of a "horse" can be linked uniformly by a synesthetic scheme with the representation of a certain color that is different from the color of the retinal image of a natural horse.
The drawing of children let us see not only meaningful schemes of certain objects but also innate schemes, that link cognitive representations of visual brain. Therefore we can say that synesthesia causes specific structures of child’s drawing.
Michael Samarajiwa / Klangwerkstatt Wendelsheim / Germany
How to re-musicalize children through Synaesthesia
To communicate Synaesthesia we are confronted with opposing and attracting elements that are both foreign and familiar and which every teacher and therapist is faced with when communicating something that is novel. I would like to present methods that I am using to re-musicalize or resound children and adults in order to make them curious about foreign and novel matters. With re-musicalization, Synaesthesia plays a major role, because it is Synaesthesia that causes the integration of different areas become perceptible and conceivable to the individual. I want to show by this means of quite a number of examples delivered in my report about my work as social worker and music therapist.
Dipl.Päd. Michael Samarajiwa, born 1967 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, social pedagogue, music therapist, music teacher. After having studied piano at the Music Academy Tübingen, I studied musicology and social pedadogy at the university of Tübingen. (Prof. Kunert, school & social pedagogy, university Tübingen, Prof. Frauke Grimmer, piano pedagogy, university Dresden): „Von der Kränkung zur Kompetenzstärkung – ganzheitliche Förderung von Schülern am Beispiel des Klavierunterrichts“, Tübingen 2004; .Studies in natural health professions and music therapy: „Ars Musica- Von der Remusikalisierung des eigenen Lebens“, IBW Lörrach 2007. 2006 Foundation of the Klangwerkstatt-Wendelsheim, atelier for resounding, training of social competences and synaesthesia.
EMU - Experimental music & art / University of Ulm / Germany
What is the sound of the taste of raspberry juice?
And the sound of a sofa? Is there a difference if we compose a piece of music synaesthetically or conceptually? If so for whom? For the author, the musicians, the audience or all of them? What are advantages and disadvantages of a synaesthetic approach? Short talk with synaesthetic color-light-music.
EMU are students from the University of Ulm, scientists and artists of music, visual arts and modern dance. The music lab of the EMU is located on the campus of the University of Ulm - and works together with various faculties. The results are presented in both the artistic and scientific context.
Advanced technologies - especially computer music - are as important as traditional "instruments" like the ch'in instrument, the frame drum, the Baßrohr, the ballast string .... and of course the voice and the human body. www.emu-ensemble.de
Katja Krüger / Henstedt-Ulzburg / Germany und Anna Katharina Rowedder/ Leipzig / Germany
Visualised sounds or "Mama, the sky sounds nice"
Synaesthetic children perceive their environment differently than their non-synaesthetic environment.
When confronted with ignorance and corrections in early childhood, they begin to doubt their own experience. Non-synaesthetic adults reinforce this uncertainty despite their desire for improvement.
With the example of a colour -sound translation it is demonstrated how it may be possible to understand a synaesthetic child and his perception.
Using a presented synaesthesia questionnaire for children, the personal translation competence into other forms of synaesthesia can be tested.
Katja Krüger. Born in 1965 as a synesthete with a linking between colour-movement-sound, Katja Krüger was living most of the 13 years of her school life in a hearing position. As a result she was studying music after her graduation, namely the classes of historic wind instruments, flute, oboe and bassoon, as minors singing and piano. Today she is living with her family in Schleswig-Holstein, managing a choir, mostly playing double bass and bassoon in classical and non-classical formations. Every now and then,she is translating colours and movements into sounds.
Anna Katharina Rowedder. Dipl.-Des. FH at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund, 2008. Publication "For You - Synaesthesia", publisher Synaisthesis, Luxembourg 2009. Lives and works as an independent communications designer with emphasis on photography in Leipzig and northern Germany.
Various solo and group exhibitions, participation in various cultural projects (Im Zentrum Lied, Pottporus, etc.), publications in print and online media, and continuously photographic accompaniments for several artists. Main interest is in photojournalism and the communication of content in the most understandable way - through pictures.