The Sound of Scent

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Some of you already know that I hear scents in musical notes. I compose fragrances which smell harmonious.

Musical notes are like notes on a keyboard. I don't walk down the street overwhelmed with the sounds of everything I smell though. I have to listen for them specially but I could sing you the note of an individual material or finshed fragrance. This comes in handy when I've left the lids of a couple of bottles and have to put the right ones back on. I don't have to stop to check which is the lavender and which ones is the rosemary because they sound different. 

I don't know why this happens, but perhaps it's because I started to play the piano at a very early age (although I was never any good at it) and in our house we had music on all the time. (Our dad really was very good at it.)

When I found my dad's old synth keyboard last week, I decided to illustrate some scent chords with musical chords to show the way perfumes sound to me. You might think this is complete nonsense, or it might give you a new way to understand scent construction. Anyway, here are four very short films of me playing chords and chatting a bit.

First: how top, middle and base notes all arrive at the same time, but we often only notice the top ones at first, and then perceive the others underneath as they gradually wear off.

Next, a modern linear fragrance chord.

Third up, a rich vintage fragrance chord.

Finally, the "fresh" light fragrances which people often describe as smelling natural. (As I hear them.)



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  1. Sara

    Spot on! After listening to the chords you played, Bob Marley walzed into my head and his song Buffalo Soldier. Notes like bubblegum, coconut, sea, sand, smoke (a jerk barbeque in the distance) suddenly came up:)

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  2. Tiffanie

    Hello, I completely enjoyed your sounds of scent. I don't hear scents, but I do play the piano, and I feel a similar (I think) connection between the layering of sounds as I play and the notes as I smell a fragrance. I particularly enjoy smelling something wonderful and having a pleasant humming feeling start up in my brain, which sometimes leads to that ticklish feeling at the back of the neck or even the toe-curling sense of joy that can also come from great music. Thank you for sharing your sound-smell gift.

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