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Google’s new synesthesia experiment turns iconic painting into music

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to experience synesthesia? If so, Google’s latest Arts & Culture experiment is here to help. The experiment is inspired by Russian painter and art theorist Vassily Kandinsky, who experimented with synesthesia and could hear chords and musical tones while painting in different colors.

The new Google experiment briefly introduces users to this concept, providing them with an experience that may be similar to that experienced by Kandinsky. As in previous similar experiments, anyone can access the new tool (here) and use it to generate their own unique creation.


Users can click on different shapes and colors to experience something like Kandinsky described; red, for example, is associated with the violin. The most interesting aspect of the experiment, however, is the ability to hear Kandinsky’s “Yellow-Red-Blue” masterpiece.

‘Listen to this masterpiece as Kandinsky must have heard [as] performed by composers Antoine Bertin and NSDOS’, explains Google on the experiment’s website. Machine learning guides users through the seven movements of iconic painting, translating the visual into music.

Finally, users can click on the ‘try it yourself’ option to select a pair of emotions and hear how the mood sounds based on Kandinsky’s work. Users have the option to enable and disable different ways to adjust the music. The final work can be shared using the tool’s ‘Share’ option.

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