Earworm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
So, what's stuck in your head?Earworm, a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm, is a portion of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one's mind, put colloquially as "music being stuck in one's head."
The Official Earworm Synonym List includes alternative terms such as "music meme", "humsickness" , "repetunitis", "obsessive musical thought" and "tune wedgy."
Arthur C. Clarke's 1956 short story "The Ultimate Melody" (written long before the term "earworm" was coined in English) offers up a science fictional explanation for the phenomenon. According to writer Michael Chorost on the website of aleph, the story is about a scientist, Gilbert Lister, who develops the ultimate melody—one that so compels the brain that its listener becomes completely and forever enraptured by it. As the storyteller, Harry Purvis, explains, Lister theorized that a great melody "made its impression on the mind because it fitted in with the fundamental electrical rhythms going on in the brain". Lister attempts to abstract from the hit tunes of the day to a melody which fits in so well with the electrical rhythms that it dominates them completely. He succeeds, and is found in a catatonia from which he never awakens.
Is it a song you like? A song you hate? Something you recently heard on the radio? Something from your childhood? Don't be afraid of infecting the rest of us. Post it here.