I was talking with a man who said songs get stuck in his head, repeating over and over because he doesn’t know how the song ends. He has to listen to the song to get it out of his head. Or else it’s a mad cycle.
This, as I just learned, is called Earworms. And it happens to me all the time.
Also, the University of Arizona has a project right now, saying that Earworms “offer a valuable window to a richer understanding of the human relationship to music.” They’re looking to see why a song stays in your head.
I like the idea that if you don’t know the next part of your Earworm song, it will stay there “unless a climax can be achieved to break the cycle.” That’s why I like option 2 on Radiolab’s list of tips on how to rid them:
- Replace the song
- Embrace the song
- Pick one of the notes and hold it
- Pass the song off to a friend
Sounds good. And so does the Earworm in my head right now…
image via radiolab.org