surrounded by clouds

On the song in my head.

This article appeared on the BBC website yesterday. It’s all about ‘earworms’, which sounds less horrible than you might think. It’s not actually about real worms that live in one’s ear (that is a frightening idea and not something that I would ever blog about), rather it’s about getting a tune stuck in your head, and why it happens.

It reminded me of a discovery that I made quite recently.

I have what I have named as a ‘default’ song in my head. That isn’t the recent discovery, I knew that. But, what I didn’t realise is that the concept of a default earworm is pretty weird.

I can’t find anyone else who shares in this special joy, and so allow me to explain what I mean, and then let me know if it resonates with you.

I always have some music stuck in my head, as do most people, usually caused by hearing a song playing, or having a conversation that reminds you of a tune you know.

When my niece, Lola, was born, I found myself singing ‘Copacabana’ for about a week. During my summer trip to ‘the country that shall not be named’, I watched a presentation on British television and found myself singing the theme tune to ‘Postman Pat’ for about a week.


When one of those brief earworms isn’t around, I always default back to one song, and that default song can remain as the default for a number of years.

For a while it was this:

For about three years, whilst I was at uni, it was this:

And for the last year or so, it’s been this:

So, can anyone out there identify? Do you have a default earworm? Or just a ‘this moment’ earworm?

In summary: musical.


This entry was published on March 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm. It’s filed under Randomness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “On the song in my head.

  1. Hannah on said:

    I remember when it was Old MacDonald. You funny! And earworm is stolen from German. Yea!

    • fiona lynne on said:

      I was just about to say the same thing. Old Macdonald is like the soundtrack to my uni days just because you were always humming it 🙂

      • Hannah on said:

        Old MacDonald is the soundtrack to your uni days…I would like to hear you explain this to someone who didn’t know El…(can I write your name the normal way..?) ” Well I have a friend who has a default earworm that she hums throughout the day” hehe

  2. I DO know what you mean!! I Have had a few defaults but for MANY years… so my defaults have been (focusing on one more over some periods of time like you said) So Most recently (for about 3/4 years) it’s been ‘who knows what miracles you can achieve’ from the prince of egypt. and prior to that it was ring of fire by johnny cash and kindof at the same time as johnny cash but on a lower default setting was any dream will do…. strange!?! xx

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