A couple of weeks ago….
I asked about the meaning of Jimi Hendrix’s Bold as Love, covered by John Mayer. While looking for some other information, I came across the fact that both John Mayer and Jimi Hendrix have/had a condition called music to color synesthesia that causes the person to “see” music in colors. From Wikipedia:
Music → color synesthesia
In music → color synesthesia, individuals experience colors in response to tones or other aspects of musical stimuli (e.g., timbre or key). Like grapheme → color synesthesia, there is rarely agreement amongst synesthetes that a given tone will be a certain color. However, consistent trends can be found, such that higher pitched notes are experienced as being more brightly colored (Ward, Huckstep & Tsakanikos 2006). The presence of similar patterns of pitch-brightness matching in non-synesthetic subjects suggests that this form of synesthesia shares mechanisms with non-synesthetes (Ward, Huckstep & Tsakanikos 2006).
Color changes in response to pitch may involve more than just the hue of the color. Brightness (the amount of white in a color; as brightness is removed from red, for example, it fades into a brown and finally to black), saturation (the intensity of the color; firetruck red and sky blue are highly saturated, while grays, white, and black are unsaturated), and hue may all be affected to varying degrees (Campen & Froger 2003). Additionally, music → color synesthetes, unlike grapheme → color synesthetes, often report that the colors move, or stream into and out of their field of view.
So, now a moment of clarity. Aha. Lightbulb. I get it. Mayer is crazy like a fox and I think that his cover of Bold as Love is linked to his affection of Jimi Hendrix. In John’s article about Jimi Hendrix in Rolling Stone back in 2004, Mayer says:
“I think the reason musicians love Hendrix’s playing so much is that the language of it was so native to his head and heart. He had a secret relationship with playing the guitar, and though it was incredibly technical and based in theory, it was his theory. And I think that was sacred to him. That’s why you almost never read an interview with him explaining his live-gear setup or his favorite scales. That’s part of what made his playing so compelling — all you heard was the color. The math is what’s been applied ever since.”
So, perhaps Bold as Love is simply a manifestation of how Jimi, and John, saw/see the music. Bold….Bold as love.