Implacable Sweetness of Sound

"Abstract Fruit" by Laurie Salmela

You thought I was going to talk about food, didn’t you? Gotcha!  I’m going to talk about music instead.

Music is like… well it’s like a… well, hell, I’m not sure how to put into words what music is like for me. I was prompted to write about it because I was shuffling through my iTunes library and I came across a little gem I forgot about. There is a woman in my home town named Datri. Datri Bean to be specific.  She is a musician. A singer. A song writer. A band leader. A fabulous gal.

I have a sort of round about way of knowing her, though in truth, I don’t know her at all. She’s the wife of the man who is the best friend of my brother-in-law, my sister’s husband. I’m sure you get that.

This song I have on loop right now is called “I Saw A Sign”.  It pulses in a delightful way with her slightly twangy voice undulating with the lyrics.  It tastes…sweet. Sweet like a peach, but also a little creamy, almost buttery.

Weird, huh?  That a song tastes like something to me.  Music has always tasted like something when I hear it. It emits a certain fragrance or odor, depending on how it makes me feel.  Ever since I can remember, and more so when I became a musician, I would have these feelings.

It’s not really all that strange if you believe that the phenomenon of synesthesia is legit.  There are people who see color in sounds. They associate color with certain letters or numbers. Sometimes they feel differently when they experience things like dates. Maybe 1920 just feels so much further away than 1990.  The brain is a complicated organ. It can do fascinating things.

For me, I taste and smell sound. In another one of Datri’s songs, “Foolish”, I taste lemons and mint, but I also feel the humid nights of early September. I feel warm and silken.

As I mentioned, I am…was…no, am a musician. A violinist to be specific, so it’s no surprise that orchestral music is particularly enticing. For example, baroque music is warm almost too hot to play. It leaves me breathless. It tastes like clove. Vivaldi. Corelli. Telemann. Clove and a little cinnamon, but just a hint.  Bach tastes like an orange and feels like an ocean wave washing on top of me.  Sibelius? Crisp temperatures. The taste of ice. And Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” just feels like I’m pressing my face against the cold, smooth surface of stainless steel. It tastes like salt, but that’s because it always brings me to tears.

There isn’t a kind of music that doesn’t elicit such vivid sensations. They’re not all pleasant, but most of the time it’s an exhilarating experience.


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