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Music in my Mind

On occasion, I've had the pleasure of waking up to a full-scale orchestra playing a composition just for me. It sounds as if I'm listening to live music--like the strings and woodwinds and brass and everyone is gathered around my bed to serenade me awake. The illusion is fragile--one breath that's too deep or a slight shift of my head, and it dissolves, fading into the background or dissipating entirely.

I've always assumed that not everyone has had that particular experience, but I was sitting at my desk today with my usual round of song snippets in my head* and thought: "Huh. I don't know that I've ever NOT had a song in my head."

I have songs playing in my mind when I am at work, or swimming, or reading, or driving (even when I don't have the radio on). And then I realized, based on how I've heard other people talk about having music stuck in their heads, that they MIGHT NOT have a constant low-level radio playing in the background of their thoughts. So I asked my coworkers.

One said she hardly ever has songs stuck in her head. Another said she had music in her head about 10% of the time.

So now I'm curious to know what other people's experience is.

*Currently I have about three songs that I'm switching between--and it's not like I listen to one song all the way through and then move on to the next--one song gets stuck in little pieces, and then all of the sudden it's a different song's pieces.

I also tend to add my own rhythm section by tapping my molars together in a way that makes my dentist despair.

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( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 30th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
I have songs stuck in my head most of the time. If not because they're stuck, then because I'm mentally singing, becauses... I dunno, because why not? And yeah, I wake up with them in my head, too - although not as full surround sound as yours. That sounds great! :)

I like to have music playing, which might be part of it. I listen to my iPod on the way to work and when I'm doing the washing up, and I sing in the shower... I'm out of the habit of listening to music aloud at home because I've not had a stereo for a long time - but now I've got an iPod dock, I'm getting back into it.
May. 30th, 2013 11:48 pm (UTC)
Well, the full surround sound effect is SUPER rare. (I can remember it happening a handful of times.) Probably because I usually wake up to music anyway... which is nice, but still not as nice as the full symphonic effect!

I do wonder if I have this happen because I listen to so much music...
May. 30th, 2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
All the time.

May. 30th, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
Does it bug you? Because it usually doesn't bug me, except when I have snippets of stupid songs I don't really know stuck playing over and over and over and over.
May. 30th, 2013 11:51 pm (UTC)
It bugs me when it's a song I can't source...like when I only know half the chorus or can't remember what movie score. That's a big part of the reason I don't listen to a lot of non-English music, actually: it makes me BONKERS.

But that's pretty much it for bugging me. My "shuffle" is pretty good. ;)
May. 30th, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, all the time. Just sort of playing in the background. Right through dreaming even. Like Pepper, I like having music playing throughout the day so that might contribute to the brain radio.

Curious about your wakening symphony... is it an original composition or just some bit of something familiar. 'Cause that would be neat if it were original!
May. 30th, 2013 11:50 pm (UTC)
It's really hard to tell if it's original with symphonies, because I don't always know which one I'm listening to anyway! But it felt like it was original, and it wasn't Beethoven's 5th or something. :-)
May. 30th, 2013 08:33 pm (UTC)
Count me as another "all the time."
May. 30th, 2013 11:51 pm (UTC)
Whew. I was worried I was stranger than I thought! Do you feel mostly positive about it? Because I kinda like it. Except for my problems with my teeth. :-)
May. 31st, 2013 02:01 am (UTC)
I like it, except when something gets completely stuck and I can't get rid of it even by listening to something else. Especially if the thing that's stuck is something I hate. Most days it just makes life prettier.
May. 31st, 2013 04:36 am (UTC)
Making life prettier is never a bad thing.
May. 30th, 2013 09:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm one of those all-the-timers too. The weirdest is when I'll wake up with a song in my head and then turn on the radio in the car and it's playing the same song... probably I listen to far too much Top-30 playlists.
May. 30th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
YES. Sometimes I wonder if my brain is secretly a radio... especially when it isn't a song that's been stuck in my head ALL DAY (like today's).
Jun. 1st, 2013 02:02 am (UTC)
I've actually had it a couple times where the part of a song that was in my head was perfectly in sync with the radio as I turned it on. At least once, it wasn't even the chorus!
Jun. 1st, 2013 09:51 pm (UTC)
I love it when that happens!
May. 30th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
ME TOO. I find it amusing to try to figure out what it was that got a particular song stuck, too. Like if it is a song with words, sometimes it is because of something someone said or a sign I saw or something. Or sometimes it's something my daughters were singing two days ago. Or something that reminded me of all those years in marching band. Hahaha!
May. 30th, 2013 11:53 pm (UTC)
I get songs for specific things. Like...when I am working at the bookstore and in the computer section for any period of time, I invariably sing "Dreamweaver" for a while, because half the Adobe books have that in their title. We've MOVED the computer section, but every time I stand in that corner (now the business section), DREEEEEAMWEAVER! I believe you can get me through the ni-iight
May. 30th, 2013 11:54 pm (UTC)
HAH HAH. This happens to me! Also, if I was listening to a particular album or song or playlist when reading a book, that song/album/playlist always reminds me of the book. (It's even weirder if the book had a distinctive smell, because then that sensory memory comes back, too.)
May. 30th, 2013 11:58 pm (UTC)
And let's not even get STARTED on my music/writing/reading associations. I hear the songs, and I am right back in the plot or the research for the paper. And once I've made that imprint, it's stuck.

ALSO! When we flew to Australia, my brother and I were both SUPER sick, and the projector was broken, and kept playing "That Thing You Do", and I don't know if you know this, but they sing that song ONE MILLION TIMES during that movie, and A DECADE AND A HALF LATER, every time we hear it (not often, thank goodness), we both puke.
May. 31st, 2013 04:36 am (UTC)
Oh, man. That would be the WORST.
May. 30th, 2013 11:53 pm (UTC)
I had an associative song today when someone said "Why so serious," and I automatically filled in "So raise your glass!" :-)

Oh, I still get some piano music stuck in my fingers head. And my lessons were done over a decade ago. :-)
May. 31st, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
I'm happy to know I'm not the only one who lives life to an internal soundtrack. Truly.
May. 31st, 2013 04:35 am (UTC)
I'm just glad that usually my soundtrack is pretty decent. :-)
May. 31st, 2013 09:44 am (UTC)
Mostly it's the last song I listened to, until that fades. Sometimes I'll spend all day with a song in my head, sometimes I don't have a song in my head at all. Like right now, I'm struggling to think of any song at all.

As to exactly what gets a song in my head - a situation, a phrase, anything that could strike a spark of memory for a piece of music or a song.

Sometimes they're hymns from my childhood - rousing, uplifting things. Or songs that were playing in the store/cafe/place I was just walking through. Sometimes it's a snatch of someone else's music selection when they have the music turned up loud enough that I can hear it through their earphones and then my brain fills in the rest of the music/backing/vocals.

Jun. 1st, 2013 09:53 pm (UTC)
I had a hymn stuck in my head earlier, as well as a song I don't think I know ANY of the words to, but I enjoy the music itself, and there was another one that came directly from something that was going on I can no longer recall. It has been a varied day!
May. 31st, 2013 11:00 am (UTC)
My internal song used to always be Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack. Recently, since I started running to a soundtrack, I have Our Lips Are Sealed by the GoGo's. And if my cell phone rings? You guessed it, I'm stuck with the ring tone for a short period of time.
Jun. 1st, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
Heh. I hope you have a pleasant ringtone!
Jun. 1st, 2013 08:50 pm (UTC)
Count me as another among almost all of the time. I like it, except for rare circumstances. Like during the second time I was hospitalized during this last pregnancy, for some reason Elton John's "Levon" played on repeat ALL NIGHT LONG. During dreams, watching TV, reading, THE. WHOLE. TIME. I nearly went batty. Totally bizarre, it was.
Jun. 1st, 2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
That... It seems like that would be the time to have someone bring in a stereo of some kind. :)
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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