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22 January 2011 @ 01:54 pm
vaguely related to visualization  

(Why is it I ever seem to manage a post with content on weekends, when no one is about? Nevermind that, I’ll post anyway.)

On the visualization topic of which I am so fond, a question of music:

Do you *hear* music in your head like you would hear a radio? Except inside your head, of course, not in your ears?

Because I don’t. Twice in my life I’ve heard a burst of music inside my head, and it was extraordinary and strange. Otherwise when I get a song stuck in my head, it’s just the words. An … idea … of the tune, for lack of a better description (and the language is not well suited to this topic, any more than it is suited to the topic of visualization or lack thereof), but definitely not the actual music. Perhaps an idea of the singer’s voice, too; it’s certainly not my own voice, anyway. But really, it’s words.

Is that how it works for you?

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Bryant: play itbryant on January 22nd, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
Nope, I hear the full thing inside my head. Huh!
Geek of Weird Shitgows on January 22nd, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
Full-on music, just as if I'm listening to it on a stereo. I woke up in the middle of the night earlier in the week and COULD NOT get back to sleep to due to the earworm playing on constant repeat in my head.
Cyrano: Haring DJcyranocyrano on January 22nd, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
Yep. Earworm. Dolby 5.1 stereo surround, sometimes with video. However, as you may have guessed (4354325246 posts about my radio station), music is pretty integral to my life.
The owner of a grey cat: faith in turtlesjennielf on January 22nd, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
Ditto on the hearing the whole thing in my head.

I think it really has to do with being a visual learner vs. audible learner vs. tactile learner. Which are you?

I am a mix of visual and audible (I blame all the audiobooks.) and the music in my head tends to take on visual representations sometimes...yeah, really hard to explain. :)
R. Scott Shanks, Jr.mnarra on January 22nd, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC)
That is not how it works for me. I see in my head, I hear in my head. I can sometimes feel in my head. I don't smell or taste in my head, though.

My hearing of things I imagine is sufficiently complete that I have difficulty not singing on beat with the music as I imagine it.

On a related subject, I carry visual/auditory/behavioral homonculi of some people around with me -- Aberdeen is there, for instance. They behave just appropriately, and are good for all sorts of smacking-Scott-upside-the-head duties when the real ones aren't around (or, in 'Deen's case, patting me on the head, pursing her lips, and looking tolerant).

This has actually been a problem when there are people in there that I wish to not associate with any longer.
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on January 22nd, 2011 05:05 pm (UTC)
I can hear music. Not all the time, sometimes it's just words, but I can hear music too. And pictures, but you know about the pictures. :)
liber_ovateliber_ovate on January 22nd, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that. I generally hear the entire song, harmonies, melodies, countermelodies, rhythm ... everything. It's probably because of my classically trained ear though.

I think probably it is how your mind is wired to music. If you have, say piano training, you will hear things connected in chords, and melody, and probably how you would play them between left and right hands. if you have orchestral training, (wind or strings) you will probably hear the individual instruments playing through your mind. If you have vocal training you probably hear just the vocal parts.

If you have no training you might hear bits and pieces of music, A guitar riff here, a vocal line there, a base line somewhere else.
kitmizkit on January 22nd, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
Don't be. I don't find not hearing music sad any more than I find not visualizing sad. In fact, I think visualizing is very irritating, and no doubt would find having my head full of music to be really annoying too. :)
Mary Annepers1stence on January 22nd, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
I think I mostly just get words stuck in my head, with only an approximation of a tune, but will have to mull that over. As you know, I'm also not a visualization person either....
Sunfeetdreamstrifer on January 22nd, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)
I grew up with music, took piano lessons as a child, sung all my life, am the daughter of a musician. I always have a song in my head. It's not so much annoying as it is comforting, really. I was shocked to learn other people can't hear music in their heads. I can't compose tunes in my head, any better than I can compose them on a piano, but I like being able to think about music as I'm falling asleep. I can't fall asleep with real music on (or much of any sound). I also can visualize things clear as day in my mind, and strangely, I can imagine how to draw a picture but can't actually draw it if I tried. That weirds me out. ;-)

It's never something I really thought about until my voice teacher asked me at the beginning of my lessons if I can hear music in my head. And then I was all confused, and had to think about it, and wondered why other people couldn't hear music in their heads, since it's not even something I have to try to do.

Edited at 2011-01-22 09:24 pm (UTC)
rfrancis on January 22nd, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
Ah, now, here is where you and I differ (whereas we are pretty much the same about the visualization thing, I mean.) I hear stuff in my head. ALL. THE. TIME. I don't mean often. I mean without ceasing. I wake up with music in my head, every morning. (And not just because my elder daughter is singing loudly, which she usually is. Pretty sure there's always music in her head, too.) As an experiment when I read your post, I hit shuffle in my brain. (Trust me, it works for me.) I got the trumpet intro from Adam and the Ants "The Scorpios" (great riff, btw) and it went on from there.

Of course, I also hear voices in my head (shut up) when I read, too. And when I write. One of the weirdest things on "Project Buffalo" was having to readjust the head voices as parts have gotten cast and I've heard the actors' lines. (On the other hand, I think it means over time I will write stuff that sounds right for them. We'll see.)

So no... here we differ, I think. :)
ramurphy on January 22nd, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
That's interesting. My reading is influenced by 'voices' of a sort. For instance, having watched a number of episodes of "Hercule Poirot" as portrayed by David Suchet, I no longer find the little Belgian in the books to be a smug arrogant know-it-all. He became a much more sympathetic character. The same is true of Sherlock Holmes played by Jeremy Brett. On the other hand, I watched one episode of "Bones", based on the Temperance Brennan character created by Kathy Reichs, and felt the characterization was just so very wrong that I never watched another. I still read the books, though.
Xixpioti on January 23rd, 2011 03:58 am (UTC)
I hadn't realized "Bones" is based on a book! (I don't watch credits.) *gleeful grin* Thank you for mentioning that!
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on January 23rd, 2011 05:38 am (UTC)
Well, to be fair, the Temperance Brennan in the show is based far more on Reichs herself than on her character Temperance. :)
ramurphy on January 22nd, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
Nope. No voices in my head. The words are there, the idea of a tune is there, but no orchestration.
Liralen Liliralen on January 23rd, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
Heck... just the other night, I got the full surround-sound effects of playing Super Mario Brothers wii in my head, stuck on constant repeat...

Sometimes when I listen to a song or tune often enough, it just keeps on playing in my head for the rest of the day, exactly as it sounded in my ears. I have people's *voices* come back to me weeks, days, years later and it's in exactly the right pitch. Like yours at the moment. *laughs*

Intriguing thing is that I don't think of myself as a visualization person... I'm a verbal person, I usually work things out in the abstract in my head. I mean... I've dreamed *in* code a whole system with all the data running and changing and flowing, but not in pieces or parts, but as *code*. *shrugs* Intriguing.

Edited at 2011-01-23 12:06 am (UTC)
HL Henriksonveilofgrace on January 23rd, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
Oooooh. I took a few hours to consider this, because it's never occurred to me before that people can hear whole symphonies in their heads, let alone all the time! Usually if I have music in my head, it's a capella. The words, all perfectly attuned, but nothing else. I can force some things, like liralen's Super Mario Bros. There have been brief moments where I hear whole songs in my head without forcing it, like someone else hit "play," but they're exceedingly rare. This is one reason that I have to use music without lyrics when I write - the words will override what I'm typing. Just to note, I do have a vocal background, but I also played piano and viola when I was a kid.

Counterquestion: Since you don't visualize, do you ever have moments when a song will suddenly trigger a story/scene idea? If so, how does it work?
Xixpioti on January 23rd, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
I do hear music inside my head, usually once I learn a song well enough to play it at speed, or when I've listened to it on the radio ad nauseum. I don't hear the words, and it takes effort for me to hear the lyrics to most songs; I automatically focus on the music and mentally exclude the voices. When I sing (not often!), it's songs that I've heard so often that I've got the music in my head and can actually listen to the words (stuff like "I don't want to live on the moon" sung by Ernie, or pop rock from the 80s).

I actually prefer listening to a capella for songs with important lyrics. (If the lyrics are an excuse to sing a bubblegum pop tune, then they're not important.)

I've met someone (online only) who heard new music in his head. He was on TwoMoons with us, and I think he was majoring in Music Composition.
Xixpioti on January 23rd, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
I probably should'a mentioned, my musical background is primarily as an instrumentalist with some choral singing, usually standing next to my mom (who is a well-experienced alto). 10 years or so of piano, ending up with a Classical teacher. Flute since... 6th grade, maybe; mostly doing marching band, tho' I should've done orchestra. And Playford (Renaissance Faire) and Celtic flute & whistle since the late '90s.

And now I feel old. *huff*

(I'd say you hear the voices more than the music because you're more singer than instrumentalist. You're also a very wordly-wise person, Ms. Storyteller. :})
kitmizkit on January 23rd, 2011 08:27 am (UTC)
I don't 'hear' voices, either. I've been listening since I made this post, and it's really just my own 'voice' in my head with the idea of the tune. See, language does not do this well. But I don't hear voices when I write, either. It's just words. Thoughts.
kitmizkit on January 23rd, 2011 08:25 am (UTC)
I've met someone (online only) who heard new music in his head. He was on TwoMoons with us, and I think he was majoring in Music Composition.

That's *awesome*!
Lady Doomlithera on January 23rd, 2011 06:13 am (UTC)
Yes. In fact, it took a long time but I started being able to hear music /and/ see what the score might look like at the same time. That's mostly with instrumental music, mind you, but I'm hoping to get there with vocal.

Though, I don't visualize things well at all. For example, I /know/ what people look like. I recognize what they look like but if I try to pull up a picture of them in my head, I can't do it.

Edited at 2011-01-23 06:14 am (UTC)
kitmizkit on January 23rd, 2011 08:25 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's how I am with visualizing. I know what people look like, but I can't see it. I can describe it in words.

You can see the score for music in your head? *boggle*
Lady Doomlithera on January 23rd, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
It can't be complicated music but I can pull the different pieces apart and chart where they would go. I can't always get the notes right tone wise on the scale but I know what they would be rhythmically. Of course, if I were to try to take that and put it onto paper, I'd have a hell of a time with it.

As for the visualization thing, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. This is why I have a hard time drawing, I think.
Janne: Elfquest howling at two moonsjanne on January 23rd, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
I can visualize images, but can't 'hear' music that way. I pretty much have to subvocalize or hum if I'm trying to remember a song/tune (even the earworms, come to think of it). From the other comments on the post that seems just as well, must be tiresome to have music playing without an off button, as it were.
Miss May: accoladevalancymay on January 24th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
Nope. I am presently suffering under the effects of 'Say, Say, Say', the Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson 80s 'classic'. Complete with bits of the video.
Chrysoulachrysoula on January 25th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
I do 'hear' music, but I think that's because I'm subvocalizing the music? It seems to be something I /feel/ more than hear. I also, bizarrely, visualize music even if I don't visualize other things. And sometimes I feel music in my head that isn't an earworm but something original. Nothing complicated but I have zero problems spontaneously making up tunes and setting random words to said tunes.

That said, I'm not /imaginative/ when it comes to music. I dislike reading fiction about exceptional music because I find the language used to describe the music useless and inaccurate.

Robin also makes up songs, but seems to have no idea what I'm talking about when I try to talk about feelings, dreams or thoughts. My guess is he doesn't have pictures in his head either, which does make this lack-of-appropriate-language thing a persistent challenge.


Thinking about it, thinking about instrumentals and my favorite instruments, I do hear music when I concentrate. And I suspect with a lot of exposure and training and fluency in music reading, I could probably compose in my head too.

But I do a lot of subvocalization too.

Oddly, no songs with lyrics passed through my head while writing this post.