How many songs do you know?

  1. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I was driving home today and caught myself singing along with an old song. Every now and then it strikes me that we all seem to remember dozens if not hundreds of songs, or more; an amazing number of them really. So, how many songs do you think that you know by heart?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. dav2008

    dav2008 624
    Gold Member

    I can play hot cross buns on the recorder.
     
  4. chroot

    chroot 10,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Probably a hundred or more. Maybe several hundred. Singng and story-telling were the two earliest means of spreading cultural information and heritage. It's a shame we can't learn modern physics by song, though. :rofl:

    - Warren
     
  5. I have zero memorized but I know most of the words to quit a few so long as I hear the song playing.
    I've memorized a few songs before but I always wind up forgeting. My memory isn't very good.
     
  6. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Physics lab quartets would surely result.
     
  7. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Not many. But, there was a song that came on one of those iTunes radio stations yesterday that was an old country song that I hadn't heard since I was a kid, and I remembered every word. I seem to have permanently memorized the words to anything I made the effort to learn as a kid. Anything else, I just remember enough for it to stick in my head like a broken record.
     
  8. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    :uhh: I used to memorize vocabulary words to tunes I made up. I don't see any reason you couldn't apply that to other learning tasks, especially anything that requires a lot of memorization before you really nail the concepts behind the terminology.
     
  9. Gokul43201

    Gokul43201 11,141
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I heard in the news, a couple of days ago, about a school (in New York or New Jersey, I think) that took poorly performing students from nearby inner-city schools and produced amazing results out of them. The big difference in their teaching technique was that it involved memorization through singing - from multiplication tables to the periodic table...they had songs for everything.
     
  10. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Which is odd when you think about it. Why does the added complexity make it easier to remember? I guess the idea is that the melody is easier to learn, and then the words are learned through the process of association with the music?
     
  11. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It is odd, but it works. I also used to memorize stuff with the most convoluted stories. It seems it would just be easier to remember a word and a definition, but no, that didn't work for me, I would go through this whole story to memorize it.
     
  12. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Look at the alphabet song. What American kid can't sing the alphabet?

    I remember singing the "inchworm" song to my kids.

    Inchworm, inchworm
    Measuring the marigolds
    You and your arithmetic
    You'll probably go far

    Inchworm, inchworm
    Measuring the marigolds
    Seems to me you'd stop and see
    How beautiful they are

    Two and two are four
    Four and four are eight
    Eight and eight are sixteen
    Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two
     
  13. This reminds me that the IB Physics teacher at my highschool has his students perform something (maybe exactly) like this to random classes every year.
     
  14. loseyourname

    loseyourname 3,632
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    A counterexample is oral poetry (like the old Greek epics, which were thousands of lines long and which every Greek future citizen memorized growing up), which doesn't even have a melody or musical accompaniment. It's just easier to remember sequences of words that follow a certain meter and rhyme scheme. I'm sure there is a reason for this, but I don't know what it is.
     
  15. wolram

    wolram 3,784
    Gold Member

    I can not remember any, well one that we sang at school :blushing:
    i have the worstest memory ever, it is the same with jokes, i think i
    am a drone :cry:
     
  16. Hootenanny

    Hootenanny 9,677
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  17. honestrosewater

    honestrosewater 2,329
    Gold Member

    It seems to me that patterns are a big factor. They can function in two ways, generating and constraining, to both reduce the amount of information that needs to be stored and to aid in reconstructing information being retrieved. For example:

    Generating reducing storage: If you were making a list of words, would you make an entry for each adverb that ends in -ly or just one entry for -ly?
    Constraining aiding reconstruction: You know that the line following "So long as men can breathe or eyes can see" is 5 iambs, last syllable rhymes with see, you have an idea of its meaning, and so on, so even if you didn't remember the last line at all, you know something about it by virtue of its being a part of the Shakespearean sonnet pattern (and if you do have some of it stored somewhere, this info can help you recall it).


    I wonder if I could come up with a thousand songs that I have memorized. A quick check shows 450 files (some repeats surely) in my music folder, and that's nothing. A conservative 10 songs per album count makes me think I can get to 1000. I think I'll start a list of songs and about how much of each I can recall. :biggrin:
     
  18. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

    Mary Hopkin (pretty little Welsh girl - 1960's) recorded a version of that song on her first album - wonderful rendition. Trivia - Twiggy introduced her to Paul McCartney, who got her signed to the Apple label.

    I probably know hundreds of songs, having been in bands since the 1960s, and can fake my way through lots more, having hosted blues/rock jams at a local club for a few years. The ones I haven't sung/played for a while and have "forgotten" usually come back really fast with a little practice. I just heard Black Mountain Side by Led Zep earlier this afternoon - I have to re-learn that one. It's not that hard once you get the guitar into that really odd alternate tuning and forget eveything you know about normal chord shapes. :confused:
     
  19. SpaceTiger

    SpaceTiger 2,977
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm sure it's over 1000. Beatles songs alone is up to ~250 and I've written almost 100. 2000 or 3000 total is more likely.

    Of course, it depends on how strict you are. I very often forget verse order and song lyrics are sometimes unintelligible. I don't usually bother to remember them from the CD inserts. On a lot of songs (especially grunge era music), I just mumble something that sounds like what they're saying. Melodies are easy, though. It only takes one or two listenings to be able to remember a melody. Singing along requires that I memorize the lyrics, so I'm guessing it takes something like 5 - 10 listenings, depending on how catchy it is and how many times it repeats in my head.

    Then there are the chord sequences. I probably remember a few hundred of those (for playing on guitar) and some are simple enough that I find I've subconsciously memorized them along with the lyrics and melody, even if I've never played them before.

    Yeah, I know this isn't the best use of my brain space, but it makes me happy, so :tongue:.
     
  20. Chi Meson

    Chi Meson 1,772
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I would be totally surprised if it were any less than 3000 songs. I am constantly surprised when I'm getting a haircut (for example) and a satellite station is playing 70s music and I hear a song that hasn't been heard since August 1978 and I know every single word (despite the fact that I hated the song).

    I know at least 500 children's song. Heck, what's Raffi's discography alone? I've got 250 LP's downstairs, and those are the ones I can't throw away because they "mean so much." That's at least 3000 songs right there.

    I'm upping the number: If I don't know at least 10,000 songs, then I'm dead. And no, I don't think I'm special.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?