While I love music, I've often regretted my almost total ignorance of the art and science that makes it possible. I can't read music, nor do I have most of the vocabulary necessary to even speak intelligently about the subject.
Nonetheless, I feel compelled to throw caution to the wind and ask a question that's plagued me since junior high school: do others experience music in the same way I do?
When I listen to a song, especially in pitch darkness, my mind constructs structures of pulsing light, each piece of the structure corresponding to an element of the music. A song's bass line, for example, might represent itself as a coil of purple light stretching north and south to infinity, compressing and stretching like a spring being pulled in time with the music. Keyboard sounds (again, forgive my lack of proper vocabulary) might appear at right angles to the purple coil, again extending into infinity, perhaps represented as a jagged zigzag of a different colour: green or yellow. Drum impacts might burst like fireworks all around, while lyrics and supporting guitars might create spheres or pyramids that fade in and out of existence.
The effect is most intense with songs that, for lack of a better term, have a lot going on to my untrained ear, like "Heroes," above, or "Love and Anger," below.
It almost sounds as though I'm describing the common visualization effects that have long been seen on home computers, but my experience really isn't like that at all; it's much more vivid and three-dimensional, and there's also what I almost hesitate to call a transcendental feeling going on, a feeling of falling in multiple directions at once, like the music could carry me off somewhere if only I'd release my stubborn hold on conventional reality.
I've never spoken to anyone of this, and there's no pressing reason to do so now except that it's been on my mind for some time. It's quite possible that many people experience music this way and that I simply haven't been around when others speak of it. I'd certainly be very interested in knowing if others go through the same process, or one similar.