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The secret about music
cap, captain miss america
teaberryblue
I'm bad at listening to music.



I really only listen to music when friends send me music to listen to, or recommend things to me.

It's not that I don't like it, it's just that...music invades my brain so, so hard. I can't do things when there's music on, it completely short-circuits my brain.

Most sounds do this to me. Conversation, television, anything that isn't white noise. It bears mentioning that I'm a very light sleeper who gets woken up half a dozen times a night by noises that probably wouldn't bother anyone else.

Sounds captivate me, so I have to be completely and attentively tuned to them. I don't have a choice.

So listening to music is just not something I do very often, because if I'm listening to music, I really can't do anything else. I have to be listening actively. It's even a problem in stores, when I'm shopping. Sometimes I'll have to stop shopping to listen to whatever song is on.

This means that I don't really discover a lot of new music. I've got the music friends have turned me onto, and that's basically it.

But there's another secret about this. Part of the reason I don't listen to music is because there is always music in my head.

I have a very good memory for sounds, and after hearing a song once or twice, I can pretty much keep it stored in my brain and recall it well enough that it's essentially the same experience, for me, as listening to it. Plus, if I listen to things in my head, I can tweak it mentally in the way I want, or take apart the harmonies, or whatever else tickles my fancy. There have been songs I've listened to in my head so often for so long that when I go back and listen to the original, the lyrics are the same, but musically they've been taken apart and put back together in ways that make me startled to hear the original again. Gorecki by Lamb is a perfect example of this. I don't think I actually played it to hear from 2004 until 2012, but I listened to it in my head all the time, and when I heard it again, I realized that my version had morphed into something darker, crueler, with sharper edges and more deliberately dissonant tonal shifts. The funny thing is that they're all things I know Lou Rhodes can do with her voice, because I've heard her do them in other songs.

(here's the song, for reference)


Lamb - Gorecki by Angkor

But a lot of the time, the songs in my head are not ones that exist anywhere else. And I don't know how to write music, or how to play any instruments, so while I could sing them to you, you wouldn't hear the full orchestrations the way they are in my head. I can separate them out, hum all the different parts, but that's really not the same thing.

Anyway, they usually pop into my head as tunes and words at the same time, usually a verse and or a chorus to start, but they pretty rapidly populate themselves into complete songs. Or I'll just have one verse for years and then suddenly the rest of the song will come to me in the course of a day. Sometimes I'll dream songs. Not always whole songs, but parts of songs. Sometimes I'll remember the songs that were playing in the background in my dreams. The funny thing is that a lot of these dream songs are things that stay in my head long after the fact.

I don't remember my dream from last night but I do remember the song from it. Or part of it:

You can stoke my fire
Till the flames rise higher and higher
And I want to light your candle,
But I know it's not that simple, baby

I keep rattling on,
Like a train that's come and gone
But someday maybe I'll come rattling back
Cause you're the only thing
That stops me in my tracks

Stop before you begin it
'Cause you know that's not my style
Give me a minute
And I'll want to take a mile

Your charge is electric
You change my English to Metric
And I want to match your measure
But you're clouding up my weather, baby

I keep rattling on,
Like a train that's come and gone
But someday maybe I'll come rattling back
Cause you're the only thing
That stops me in my tracks


Don't remember after the second chorus.

I do remember dreaming last night, but not what it was about. Just the song.

So it's hard to justify turning on music when I have that and I'm the only one who has it. Sometimes I wake up and try to google lyrics to see if I'm dreaming real songs, but I'm not, usually. If I am, I recognize it immediately.

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(Deleted comment)
It sounds like you have a gift, have you considered learning to write music/play music? I think it'd be worth it, sounds amazing!

Yep, I took music theory in high school and played cello, saxophone, and oboe. I could never actually understand it. Trying to read music when you are dyslexic is painful, and I never quite got the hang of the physical dexterity needed to play.

I have actually been thinking lately of trying to renew efforts to do this. I'm looking into composition software and such.

While I don't always have music in my head (probably about half the time, though!), I can so relate to the first part of this! I can only listen to music if that's all I'm doing. I can do it while I'm at the gym or in the car or dancing at home, but I can't listen to it and do something else.

The second part of this is so cool. I wish I dreamed songs!

uuuuuuuuuuuum we need to figure out how you can get all these songs out because it sounds so very interesting

I would love love love that. Know any composers who would be interested?

Also, I wrote more verses and rearranged it a bit.

I was fragile as a sparrow
And you played the straight and narrow
But I didn't dream the night I
pushed you home in a wheelbarrow, so now

History's repeating
And my sanity's receding
I just want to watch you undress
But I'm staring at my regrets, baby

Don't ask for forgiveness
'Cause you know that's not my style
Revoke my license
'Cause I'll only drive you wild

Music is similarly potent for me, all full of memories and feelings. It's like a drug, and I don't do drugs casually.

I always have earworms too. Sometimes I get earwormed with an entire musical, or a movie (not just the music, the whole movie). It's very noisy in here. One of the first things I used taurine for was to turn down the noise in my head so I could sleep.

I get earwormed with dialogue from movies, too! Sometimes it's like music earworms, and I don't even remember what movie it's from, I just have a conversation in my head. I remember one time this happened with a scene from Night of the Hunter and it drove me nuts.

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