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Imagine your favourite song. Can you hear it playing?

DiscussionsCategory: QuestionsImagine your favourite song. Can you hear it playing?
Jennifer McDougallJennifer McDougall Staff asked 5 months ago

It’s been hypothesized that aphantasia impacts all sensory imagery, including auditory imagery. When you imagine your favourite song or the tune to “happy birthday,” can you hear it playing in your mind?

How clear is your mind’s ear? Tell us more about your experience.

Leonie SargeantLeonie Sargeant replied 5 months ago

I can usually remember the lyrics in a narrative way, and if I have listened to the song very recently I can kind of recall the tune but I can’t hear it in my mind.

Nicole HeyesNicole Heyes replied 5 months ago

I “hear” the music and/or the lyrics the same way I “hear” my thoughts. I can tell the difference between loud and soft or high and low notes, etc but there’s no actual “sound” sensation in my brain. I “hear” people’s voices and their way of speaking (tone, accent, degree of sarcasm. Lol) the same way I “see” the horse or remember feeling angry. I conceptualise.

Jennifer McDougallJennifer McDougall Staff replied 5 months ago

What great ways to describe the experience. It can often be difficult to put words to our inner world, and you both provided some valuable insight into what this world looks like that can help us all better understand the experience of living with aphantasia. Thanks for sharing!

13 Answers
Space AnarchistSpace Anarchist answered 5 months ago

I get vague impressions of sound, but it is not the same as actual sound. I think one important criterion is non-linearity. That is, I can get an overall, nonlinear impression of a piece of music, but it does not proceed in a linear fashion through time. I can subvocally hum a tune and recite the words, but it does not happen automatically.

Ian LIan L answered 3 months ago

if i try to recall a song in my mind i feel like i can hear it but now that im actually trying it its more like i am singing the song in my mind. I dont hear the true instrumentation just my voice mimicking the soounds of the song. I also cannot layer sounds, i just have to think of them all seperatey.

Cat MacleodCat Macleod answered 2 months ago

I can hear myself singing the music if that makes sense…. I can hear the song just in my voice! even classical music is just me humming it. Which is very funny now that I think about it.

Killian GillespieKillian Gillespie answered 2 months ago

I can hear myself humming everything but it’s almost overlaid on top of the original song, but the original song is rather drowned out by my own humming. I never considered that people could hear music like they were listening to it.

lihi michaelilihi michaeli answered 2 months ago

I cant visuallize anything, but when it comes to music I can remember each and every note, all the lyrics and I can play it in my head.

Dorena NagelDorena Nagel answered 2 months ago

i can hear music playing and replay the different voices of friends in my head. and i think i’m better at this internal hearing than others, but for all other senses my brain is just black

Donald ZEPPDonald ZEPP answered 2 months ago

I can hear music–not just a melody, but I can hear harmonies that my brain creates simultaneously. When playing and performing music, I have had quite a few out-of-body experiences during which I simply listen to what I’m playing without any concious intervention.

And yet I don’t see images!

Giselle IhrigGiselle Ihrig answered 2 months ago

I can "hear" the music…sort of. It’s kind of like I’m singing the song, not the artist, in my inner monologe voice. If there are no lyrics, I think of the tune, but I don’t hear it

Janelle WilliamsJanelle Williams answered 1 month ago

weird, but I cant hear anything

but can kind of "hear" it with me saying/singing the lyrics but no music as such

Eric JohnsonEric Johnson answered 1 month ago

If it’s a song that I know very well by a singer or group that I’ve heard many times and there are no distractions, then I can usually recollect it nearly as well as listening to the album. If I don’t remember the words, I still remember the flavor of the sounds.

Some examples:

Peter, Paul, and Mary: Puff the Magic Dragon; Lemon Tree

Simon and Garfunkle: The Sounds of Silence; Parsely, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme

The Beatles: Hey Jude; Strawberry Fields Forever

Napolean IV: They’re Coming to Take Me Away

On the other hand, if I try to hum or sing along with it, the effect is completely gone.

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