Friday, 16 October 2020

Earworms

I'm sitting at my laptop, trying to start this blog post and all the time I'm singing a song in my head that has been there for days. It could have been any song. On this occasion it's Lewis Capaldi's Someone You Loved... I let my guard down and then you pulled the rug... 

There are some amazing lyrics out there but it doesn't have to have a moving lyric to become an earworm. This morning Daughter sent an emoji of a penguin along with a message - which had nothing to do with penguins but she's hoping to make a major house move quite soon so I disregarded the mismatch. It was a cute penguin but I fought off the Happy Feet earworm. Sorry if your brain is now singing it. It is a particularly aggressive earworm, as is The Wombling Song. Sorry again but it's not a bad idea to be wombling free. I could do with a bit of wombling free right now.

In case you're bemused, an earworm is when you can't get a particular tune out of your head. It keeps on going round and round. You'll realise that you're humming it while you're making your breakfast, singing it out loud as you're driving in the car, and reciting it silently as you walk around - suitably masked up of course - in public. So what exactly causes an earworm or to use its technical term, involuntary musical imagery? I don't think there's a definitive scientific explanation. If you have a theory do please share in the comments section below. I found a blog called Songwriting that gives an explanation and they've illustrated the article with this cartoon. I do love cartoons and I've put a link to their site on it so I hope they don't mind me sharing it with you:

After a while all earworms, however lovely the song, become thoroughly irritating but writing this post has reminded me of a more positive earworm. I suppose you could call it a self-imposed earworm. I blogged about this briefly in 2013 but I thought it deserved a revisit. When I was a teenager I had several periods of agoraphobia. The dictionary definition of this is a fear of open spaces. In reality I was convinced that if I went out on my own I would pass out. The self-imposed earworm that I selected to help me was Stevie Wonder's For Once in my Life. That song saved my teenage years and helped me to get out and about, no doubt because it distracted my mind from my fears. It finally disappeared when I had my children and I'm guessing that's because they also distracted me - big time! 

Back to the present time, even though I've tempted my brain with Happy Feet and The Wombling Song, Capaldi is still there so I shall go and get on with preparing the supper whilst humming gently... I was getting kind of used to being someone you loved...


4 comments:

  1. I too get earworms, Ros.I’m never quite sure why one worm will suddenly take over from another, but my cure is to find something more difficult to hum. The process of getting that right replaces the earworm and avoids another coming too quickly. I’m glad Stevie Wonder helped you. That’s lovely!

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    1. Thanks, Val, I'll give that a try because it's still in my head. I'm wondering if the semi-lockdown situation is making it worse! All I need to do now is to try and think of a complicated tune...

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  2. oh, I'll get stuck with a song all day after my drive to work in the mornings.

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    1. If it drives you crazy then you could always give Val's suggestion a try (above this comment). I'm going to try it if I can decide which complicated tune to start humming!

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