Scriabin’s Synesthesia, Demystified

Keywords: Alexander Scriabin, color, sound, synesthesia, late period.


This article examines the latest
materials related to Scriabin’s synesthesia,
that is, his associations between sounds (tonal
areas) and colors. This is often referred
to as color-hearing, sound-color
and tone-color associations in the literature.
Scriabin’s biographer Leonid Sabaneyev
was the first to discuss the matter,
in his publication “O zvuko-tsvetovom
sootvetstvii” [On sound-color correlation]
(1911, Moscow). Since then, other
more reliable sources have emerged,
including Scriabin’s own color indications
penned directly on the score of his
Prometheus Op. 60, housed
in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris
and not widely-accessible.
This article also attempts to debunk
some of the myths related to Scriabin’s
sound-color associations and presents
the emerging scholarly perspective
on the subject.

The Synthesis of Arts and the Art of Synthesis