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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Impact!, or, 'song is an alien part #246 
29th-Sep-2009 10:15 am
So I asked the other day if anyone else processes physical sensation as sound. There are a few of you. Hi!

Basically, I was listening to my "My Empire for Ashes" playlist, which has several instrumental pieces. And I've tried to explain this playlist to people: "This is what Alexander's brain sounds like." "And this is what it sounds like during sex." "And this is what it sounds like when he's using his powers."

And also I have Places You Haunt on the brain, where characters process magic/energy as sound, as color, et cetera.

And also I had a conversation about kink with someone recently wherein I bemoaned the fact that no one I'm involved with likes whips/singletails. He asked why I'd need that when I had perfectly good canes (both rattan and fiberglass). I said it's not the same...

...but what I was really thinking is it's not the same sound.

So here's my peculiar bit of synesthesia. And hi, I'm shy about this, because I know it's wacky! But. It is so.

Physical sensation = sound for me. Stronger the sensation, stronger and clearer the sound.

Let's start with an example. Click here, and click on "Exurgency".

Enjoy the sounds of 'song's brain on bondage + play.

The firm and constant pressure of rope or cuffs or, heck, even just hands on my wrists.. produces a long, continuous, low tone like that of the cello. In this piece, the cello is looped over itself 16 times, which puts me in mind of being bound and doing Other Things (hence the "+ play")

So bondage is a low continuous yummy thing. Sex itself can be symphonic or it can be something more strictly percussive; lots of variation in sex!

But impact? Impact fascinates me. Because like I said, the stronger the sensation, the stronger and clearer the sound - which means pain can be gorgeous.

The fiberglass cane is very like a Tibetan singing bowl. The sounds evoked by impact reverberate, of course, because the sensation does! So thuddy things are a low reverberating thing. And that's delicious.

But the singletail? In Cicatrix, I refer to it as "each lash writing lines of liquid silver on your back", and yes, that. Silver. A perfect pure silver chime, high and sweet and clear and shivering in the air...


So yes. Knowing some of my predilections, you can see how fibromyalgia would be peculiar for me. A big struggle. Pain was my friend, but it became constant and turned against me. I was asked about that by people who knew about the interests above, the the best I could do was wave my hands and say "but it's not the good pain!", which only confused most people further.

But I think that I can explain better, now that you know about me and sensation and sound.

Every year, our town puts on something called Band-A-Rama. The high school band and orchestra play, and they're really good! They compete in New York. Awesome.

The middle school plays. Not bad at all!

And then. Oh, and then.

Fourth grade beginner band.

The pain and pressure and sensation I enjoy is like a silver chime, a singing bowl, an intricate cello piece.


Is like fourth grade beginner band. Fourth graders with violins. And trumpets.

You perhaps begin to understand. *wry smile*
29th-Sep-2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
I didn't respond the other day, and I don't remember why - I think I was too tired, or in the middle of something.

I don't process physical sensation as sound. However, and I *know* I'm far from rare in this...sound, music, etc., does influence many aspects about my mood and interests...but it's definitely external stimulus impacting me as opposed to internal stimulus being processed as sound. Makes for great fun when certain songs come on the radio, though *laugh*.

But yeah - I get the fourth grade beginner band thing like whoa. Ouch.
29th-Sep-2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
You know, you could skip a lot of the detail (which I find interesting, but some would probably find TMI) and when people ask what's so bad about fibromyalgia, just talk about the fourth-grade band. It will work perfectly well as an analogy for people who don't know just how literal it is for you.

Also, the fibromyalgia is the fourth grade band on infinite loop, I'd bet. There's very little that's tolerable on loud infinite loop.
29th-Sep-2009 02:38 pm (UTC)
I like this. I'm a childbirth educator and one of the things that is really hard to deal with for first time mums is explaining pain - and particularly explaining that labour pain is a good... or at least constructive type of pain.

The symphony analogy is brilliant and rather fits that.
29th-Sep-2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
Yes. Which means I know you'll understand me when I say that the cello is my favorite instrument. I just bought the album you linked to. And I can't afford it. But I had to have it.
29th-Sep-2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
Is like fourth grade beginner band. Fourth graders with violins. And trumpets.

... and cymbals. Big, gargantuan cymbals.
29th-Sep-2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
I completely Get This. You know, I do some of the same things, and for me, its more of a heavy deep association than a total synesthesia, but I do so get it. Especially with sound, impact and pressure, too. I think part of it is that I spent years play the French horn. It's an instrument played close, with the body. It has weight, it presses, you have to reach and shape and the sound can spiral upward, calling.... I first learned music by *feeling* it in the body, and I tend to embody things that I come into contact with (like stories, colors, things become access to touch.)

And thus, for me, pressure on wrists is that low to medium sustain that can spiral upward at any time, depending on what's going on. And yes, the cane is a singing bowl. :)

And pain is light, too. Light and dark. Bright, flickering, low and burning. And tension headache/muscle shoulder pain is bright and a low, steady red hot ember with pressure that scorches while your head rings and rings...*shudder* (Kill me now.) Prolonged, for me, that turns into 4th grade band on continuous loop drone.

The 4th grade band analogy is perfect.

I wish I could come up with nice, noise canceling headphones and soft comfy flannel-silks to be wrapped in when chronic pain hits.

Be well, lady.
29th-Sep-2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
That was me. I thought I was logged in. Oops.
29th-Sep-2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
So, big heavy elk thuds = ???
tiny rubber catsonine (stingy) = ???
soft doeskin (can bite if tips only) = ???
hand spank = ???
wide leather belt = ???
29th-Sep-2009 05:15 pm (UTC) - nothing particularly coherent to add
The fiberglass cane is very like a Tibetan singing bowl. Have you ever heard a Hang? I did for the first time just recently at RenFest. I wonder what sensation would be the sound of a Hang?

For me, music/sound has sensation, but I don't process it that way. And you are absolutely right about 4th grade beginner band & fibro.
29th-Sep-2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
you know this already, but I love you.
I love you more after this post.
29th-Sep-2009 07:15 pm (UTC) - Eeeeeeeeeeeeenteresting
I wasn't sure what you meant until you explained it. It is very deeply engrained this whole sound = something aspect. Of course it is, I am a professional musician. Making sounds, experiencing sounds, feeling sounds, associating sounds is my life. (Even though I have a different day job to pay da bills.)

And as someone who plays hard, probably a bit harder than you do in some aspects, I understand FULLY where you are coming from. To the point of, there MUST be music whilst making of the music. Each crack of the whip should coincide with what's on the radio, in time, in sync, in vibration inside and out. Yeah... totally get it.

And yes, each toy has it's own song, it's own sound, it's own note.

Hell, everything does.
29th-Sep-2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
I totally understand this. The fibro and arthritis is just like this constant quiet white roar of static. But if I'm doing pain-play, it's clear. There's a point where I'm hurting and I can focus on it and it really just.. clears my mind.
29th-Sep-2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
Is because you are a song.
30th-Sep-2009 01:09 am (UTC)
That's part of why I'm 'song. :)
29th-Sep-2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, I do understand. :)
30th-Sep-2009 12:46 am (UTC)
Uhm, wow.

Also? Exurgency does interesting things to my brain and I will NOT listen to it again unless there is nobody else around.

30th-Sep-2009 02:35 am (UTC)

I will listen to this when I have the sound on my machine working. :)
30th-Sep-2009 02:40 am (UTC)
I love the Zoe Keating piece you linked to, that's definitely going on my "to buy" list. I saw her when she was with Rasputina - such an amazing artist...

Have you heard anything by Kristin Miller? "Later the Day" is another one of my favorite cello albums.
30th-Sep-2009 03:55 am (UTC)
Heh. I don't process that way, but I do love cellos and I'm buying that CD. Thanks for linking to the artist!
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