Friday, January 8, 2010

December 30, 2009 II

I am, and have been for many years, infested with earworms.
Unlike ringworms and tapeworms, these are not organisms
making a living off my exterior or interior, but are actually ohrwurms:
the Germans coined the word for a tune or musical phrase that
gets into your mind and causes itself to be repeated ad nauseam.
Being a confirmed whistler, I even find myself whistling these beasts.
Well, actually, there's nothing wrong with them per se, but when they become embedded in the grey matter their endless repetition can be a nuisance to the afflicted and, in my case, to those around him. My most persistent and recurrent ohrwurm (hard to say, isn't it, especially if you attempt a proper German accent) is the final phrases from the Symphonie Singuliere
composed in 1845 by a not-very-well-known composer, Franz Berwald (it was his best composition).

That is frequently supplanted by other bits of music,
some of which return more often than others,
and often enough by something I've just heard
(horror of horrors, it can even be an advertising jingle)
However, most themes are classical,
since that's what I listen to the most,
and sometimes I have to think to come up with the name of the piece
or at least who composed it.  The brain definitely plays tricks on us.

I'd be interested to know if anyone who reads this blog has the same 'problem',
and if they have figured out a way to get rid of it.
If so, please let me know...
though I have a funny feeling I'm stuck with them.
Perhaps I'll compile a list, with the relative persistence
or frequency of occurrence of each...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bryce,

    I, too, share this problem! It happens most often when I do not hear a song through to the end. If the song is cut short (ex: car turns off, song ends abruptly), then I spend the rest of the day singing the song in my head, attempting to give it a proper finish.

    You're right; there is no easy way to get rid of a song that's repeating in our mind. I find myself asking Chris to tell me what song is in his head (the other day his was "Mary had a Little Lamb!"), so that I can move on to something new! This wasn't quite what I was hoping to hear from him, but it was certainly something different … variety is the spice of life (or so "they" say)!