Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

01 April 2011

Five for Friday (times two!) ... Ear worms

The definition of an earworm comes from a translation of the German "ohrwurm", a portion of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one's mind, put colloquially as "music being stuck in one's head."

It's such a fascinating phenomenon, authors have written about it for years. Take Arthur C. Clarke's 1956 short story "The Ultimate Melody" for example. In it, the protagonist, Gilbert Lister, develops a melody that intrigues the brain so completely that the listener becomes entranced by it. His theory is that a great melody impresses itself on the mind because it perfectly matches the brain's electrical impulses.

In 2007, marketing professor James J. Kellaris PhD, of the University of Cincinnati conducted a study about the top ten earworms. It boggles the mind how some people manage to justify their paycheque ... but the results are interesting:

1. Other. Everyone has his or her own worst earworm.
2. Chili's "Baby Back Ribs" jingle.
3. "Who Let the Dogs Out"
4. "We Will Rock You"
5. Kit-Kat candy-bar jingle ("Gimme a Break ...")
6. "Mission Impossible" theme
7. "YMCA"
8. "Whoomp, There It Is"
9. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
10. "It's a Small World After All"

I don't even KNOW some of those songs and NONE of my most persistent nuisance-tunes are on the list, so I guess I fit in with number one. The obsessive musical thoughts that frequently plague my mind are:

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Fortunately for me, not all of them are "claw-your-eardrums" annoying. In fact, some of them can be quite pleasant accompaniment to my day. I know there are only supposed to be FIVE, but try telling my subconscious that and see where you get. I was lucky to pare it down to ten! So, since I didn't get here to post last Friday, I'm taking both week's five together.

So ... what is your most persistent "tune wedgy"?