A lot of times, writers rely on sensory details to create vivid worlds for their characters. Sometimes it’s fun to use synesthesia and mix the senses. But it’s not just an artistic tool or neurological condition. Apparently this combination of senses is something we all do to some degree.
Scientists studying this link found that people can generally link specific tastes with specific sounds:
“Blindfolded or not, significant associations emerged. Few subjects linked brass with blackberry, for example, but many associated it with piano. Hardly anybody connected piano with musk, but many linked it to brass. Fruit odors were consistently associated with high pitched notes. That confirmed an earlier study by Crisinel and Spence showing that sweet and sour flavors were also associated with high pitched notes.
This effect apparently works the other way, too. Another scientist recently asked different musicians to play pieces of music with adjectives like “bitter,” “salty” and “sweet” in mind. Though the musicians could play whatever they wanted, consistent patterns emerged.”
It’s amazing what our minds can do! The next time you’re capturing sensory details, don’t forget that you can play with the senses. Have fun!