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Earworms?

And what are they … exactly?

They are the songs that you cannot get out of your head.  Recently Kylie did it again to me.  This time with “when I go out, I wanna go out dancing” repeating itself for the best part of four hours.  In revenge I have had fun creating these table topics around tonight’s theme …

  1. The first time, Kylie did it to me was with her song Can’t Get you Out of My Head – this was a paradoxical hit in September 2001 otherwise known as 9/11.  We all remember what we were doing that day – what is your story?
  2. Choruses tend to get stuck in our heads because they are the bit that we remember the most, we seldom remember the second and third versus of any song.  Unfinished thoughts worry us and are more likely to return over and over again.  What tricks do you use to put something to sleep that it is way past its bedtime?
  3. Scientists may have found a way to help anyone plagued by those annoying tunes that lodge themselves inside our heads and repeat on an endless loop.  They claim the best way to stop earworms is to solve some tricky anagram or complete a Suduko or read a good novel.  What keeps you cognitively engaged whether or not you are affected by an earworm?
  4. Experts claim there is a mathematical formula that sheds light on the reason why some musical combinations are unforgettable. It is receptiveness (how you feel about the song) + predictability or surprise + melodic potency (the hook & rhythmic repetition). Queen has 3 in the top 20 most addictive songs – which bugs you most – We are the Champions, We will Rock You or Bohemian Rhapsody?
  5. We listen to music with our ears, but we don’t yet fully understand about the way our bodies receive sound.  Our bodies are mostly made up from water and bone, both of which resonate with sound waves.  Tell us about the last time you felt (in the words of the New Radicals) the music in you?
  6. A simple jingle about a product that is played during an advertising campaign can burrow into our minds as an earworm, making it easy to recall the product or service it is promoting – think of Intel.   I often find myself going up and down the stairs having forgot why I was heading in either direction.  What jingle would you like to remind you what you went up the stairs for?
  7. Embedded within all catchy lyrics are syllabic patterns that are easily remembered.  For example Jingle Bells, Shake it Off, and Gangnam Style.  These three tunes have a rhythm referred to in poetry at Anapaests, (two short syllables followed by a longer one).  So if earworms are all about the rhythm and beat what do you make of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

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