What is Synesthesia?

I may be a writer, but there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel; Wikipedia describes synesthesia as “a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.”  (Their page is a nice, general introduction to the condition – you can check it out here.)  The term comes from the Ancient Greek words for “together” and “sensation”.

The experiences of each individual synesthete vary widely, meaning that my experiences may not be very representative of the condition in broad terms.  For more information about my personal ‘version’ of synesthesia, check out my introductory post.

What is Harmonic Distortion all about?

As a synesthete, my relationship to music is somewhat different from most people’s.  I thought it might be fun to create a blog in which I explore that relationship, giving other people insight into the world of synesthesia in general and offering something that is perhaps new and unique to the general musical discussion.  This blog is also a way for me to record my personal thoughts on the music I like, as well as chronicle my concert experiences as an expat music fan in Japan.

About the Author

First of all, yes – my name is ‘Crescenda’, and that is my real name; my father is a high school music teacher, and my mother has a gloriously creative mind.

I am a thirty-one-year-old American expatriate currently living and working in Japan.  This is my sixth (non-consecutive) year in the Land of the Rising Sun; I spent two years working as an ALT for the JET Program in Imabari (Ehime prefecture), three years working at an English conversation school in Tsuchiura (Ibaraki prefecture), and am now teaching preschool at an international school in Tokyo.  I studied English Literature and Medieval History in college as both an undergraduate and a graduate student, and I hope to one day refine my Japanese language skills enough to use those degrees here in Japan.

For now, this blog will be exclusively in English, though I do hope to eventually include some Japanese entries as my language skills improve.  頑張ります!

Finally, it is my sincerest wish that these blog posts help provoke discussion, both about music and about Synesthesia in general.  Please feel free to comment on any of the posts themselves, or to find me on social media – all of the links are at the top and bottom of the page.

Happy reading!