Inner audio


I always have a tune in my head. Ask me at any time of the day or night and I’ll have something floating about in there. It might take me a little while to figure out what it is or what it’s called, but it’s there. And although it’s constant, it’s not always distracting or irritating.

Every morning I wake up with a tune in my head. Sometimes it’s the song I had in my head when I was falling asleep, sometimes it’s a new one plucked from who-knows-where. Often it’s just a phrase that gets stuck in my head on repeat. If I can’t remember how the rest of the song goes my brain just joins it onto another one that sounds similar. This is how Tripod can turn into ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and then into Crowded House without me realising. I remember as a child (around 10-12 years old perhaps) awarding myself big points for linking 7-8 songs together during a long car trip. I also remember trying to explain this feat to my sister. She didn’t care. She was listening to her 100% Hits Vol. 2 cassette on her walkman.

At uni I participated in a survey a girl was doing on ‘inner audio’ for her thesis or some such. I’d been aware of my inner audio for many years but no one seemed very interested in talking about the phenomenon so I was excited that she was investigating. When I was young I assumed everyone had inner audio. And then realised maybe everyone doesn’t have inner audio. Or if they do it’s not ‘on’ 24/7? It’s something that really fascinated – and it still does – so I put a big ol’ tick in the box which said “Please share the survey results with me” but I never did hear anything back. Maybe All in the Mind will do a show on this topic one day. That’d be rad.

Just for the record, this morning I woke up with “No One Mourns the Wicked” from the Wicked soundtrack in my head. Since then my inner audio landscape has featured snippets of a Brandenburg Concerto (not sure which one – probably the most famous one), “Round Here” by Counting Crows and “Paper Bag” by Fiona Apple. No James Keelaghan yet which is odd. Although, now I’ve thought about James Keelaghan, I guess it won’t be long before he appears.

After I finished the paragraph above, my session crashed. Between then and now Brooke Fraser has also popped up with “Arithmatic”.

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3 responses to “Inner audio

  1. This post is really interesting!! I also usually have an internal soundtrack, but never really thought about the different levels in different peoples brains. That study would be really interesting!

  2. I often get stuck with a string of songs in my head. Like, if I have 1 song e.g. "Baby Got Back" in my head, it will inevitably lead to "Take this Heart" by Richard Marx, as that song followed BGB on a CD I own. Sometimes I get the words mixed up which leads to other songs.

    My fave one though – in Edinburgh I used to come home from the supermarket with "Edelweiss" in my head EVERY TIME and I could NEVER figure out why. Then it hit me – the bread that I bought was called whole and white. "whooooole and whiiiite, cleeeeeean and briiiiiight, you look happy to meeeeeet meeeeeeee."
    Love the post!!!!!

  3. That's really funny! Every time Nicala buys silverbeet she leaves the shop singing "Silver Bells".

    And every time Burfit hears the start up jingle on our laptop he sings "New York, New York (it's a wonderful town)"

    Also, the sani-rinse setting on our dishwasher in Vancouver prompted many-a-round of Tripod's "Sani-Glove".

    There's probably stacks more.

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