Songs in my head

NPR did this great multi-part show over the weekend about music, that is, music in people’s head. Some people like having tunes stuck in their head, others hate it, and some analyze it for all it’s worth..

Well, ok I figured I should make a note of what songs I have stuck in my head, normally I have some tune going first thing in the morning.

I don’t mean annoying little ditties that get stuck in your head like jingles or limericks set to music, I mean just everyday music you might hear on the radio, and for whatever reason there they are popping into your head and plodding along as if someone hid tiny headphones somewhere that you’re picking up the frequency of.

Anyway. Here’s what I had going this past work week..

  • 3/3/08 – Some tune  from Cirque du Soliel (don’t know the title, it’s a horn song)
  • 3/4/08 – The Killers – Read my mind
  • 3/5/08 – Alien Ant Farm – Summer
  • 3/6/08 – Luce – Good Day
  • 3/7/08 – Ingrid Michaelson – The Way I Am

So there you go, at least there’s a good mix there, sounds like the start of a iTunes playlist.

The NPR series (which I don’t recall what it was named, but wrote in asking them to give me more info) also showed some interesting comparisons with music, or simply inspired songs which sound like other songs, for example comparing the Afghan music of Ahmad Zahir side by side with Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were The Days My Friend” and other songs which sound remarkably like each other.

The fascinating thing, when layered on top of each other the tunes’ notes and tempos match up, even though they were created in different parts of the world on different instruments, without one artist knowing anything about the other.

I’ve seen this happen in random jam sessions where people seem to instinctively know the same tune as the other person, in fact it has happened to me, as well. Mind you I am making up the song as I go along, it’s not a cover tune or well-known riff, in otherwords, just something random and new coming out of the artists.

Is that spooky or cool or what? Yeah, me thinks there is something deeper here. Music in your head. Good stuff.

2 Replies to “Songs in my head”

  1. Howdy. I cannot remember which program featured this story or on which day I heard it, and it’s driving me crazy. The story is absolutely perfect for a Multiculturalism/World Music class I’m taking, and I’d like to send a link to my professor.

    I’ve been searching my local NPR affiliate’s website, but I can’t track down the story, a podcast, or an mp3. Can you help me out?

    1. Two years, heck almost 3 for this comment to be posted? Well, I do hope I wrote you back then about the show, over email or some such thing. If not, it is likely too late and you already found it on your own, but if not and for everyone else, NPR wrote back and told me you can grab all of the episodes off the NPR site directly or subscribe via iTunes (even though the show is out of print now), it was WNYC’s “Radio Lab” podcasts. The shows I referenced were part of a 4-part series, specifically the “Pop Music” and “Earworms” episodes. Cheers!

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