Earworms: Tunes that don’t leave you

Earworms: Tunes that don’t leave you

Music is a great art form as it uses both time and space.

Music is supposed to fill you emotionally and entertain you. With music one can enjoy the sense of time and life, in forward direction. But there are some tunes that are rather special as they can consume you, as opposed to you consuming them. They can make you anxious, and even distract you from an important task.

Remember that tune that is stuck in your head. The fun part is, you don’t have to remember it. It is involuntary. If you’re lucky this tune will have words associated with it so that you can google the song. Like Para-Para-Para-dise…. or  easy-come-easy-go, little-high-little-low

The things get interesting when there is a pure melody stuck in your head (like look at this wonderful parody of prelude of Somebody I used to know). In such a case where what you have is a pure melody or tune in your head and you have to get to the song, you look for that human soul that might know the tune. Since you are not a professional singer, you end up recreating a distant cousin of that tune and serenade your friends with your best musical abilities. All in order to get to the depth of the song.

Shazzam is a great app for those who want to finish this unfinished business. You know it’s killing you. You must find that missing piece of the puzzle and solve the damn thing and die peacefully (Death being of course a metaphorical event here.)

The science

These are called Involuntary Music Imagery (INMI). As opposed to voluntary music imagery which is when you buy the ticket of the opera and take that front seat to listen to the crooning performer and indulge with apparently more than six senses. INMI is also known as Earworms, which means there is literally a piece of music in your metaphorical ear that doesn’t let you live unless you remove it.

Watch the following video which tells us what is unique about music that it has earworms as opposed to eye-worms; the unfinished painting stuck in our heads.

 

 

So how can you cure it? Can you get rid of it?

Well, as far as the research goes, scientists have been breaking their heads (and headphones) to crack the mystery. Apparently there is something else going on deep within. In theory what is working is an old effect called Zeigarnik Effect. Now it basically means that you tend to remember the unfinished business twice as prominently as compared to the finished ones. It might seemed contradictory to the way you go about doing this in life but it seems to be effective when it comes to music and tunes. Watch the video.

To get rid of it, there are couple of methods that the scientists suggest. One of them is to listen to the complete song, finish it in your head too. Sing along. Even if you hate it.

It might be a dream for any content creator to become a sort of an earworm for you. because then you are not consuming the content, the content is consuming you. But our vote is against it.

One Response

  1. Don’t wear seat belts lest you drown in your own urine?

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