How many songs do you know?

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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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?
 

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  • #2
dav2008
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I can play hot cross buns on the recorder.
 
  • #3
chroot
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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
 
  • #4
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.
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking
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chroot said:
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
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Physics lab quartets would surely result.
 
  • #6
Moonbear
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Ivan Seeking said:
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?
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.
 
  • #7
Moonbear
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Ivan Seeking said:
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Physics lab quartets would surely result.
: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.
 
  • #8
Gokul43201
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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.
 
  • #9
Ivan Seeking
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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?
 
  • #10
Moonbear
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Ivan Seeking said:
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?
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.
 
  • #11
Evo
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Ivan Seeking said:
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?
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
 
  • #12
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chroot said:
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
This reminds me that the IB Physics teacher at my highschool has his students perform something (maybe exactly) like http://www-cchs.ccsd.k12.wy.us/cchs_web/physics/Jingle%20Physics.htm" [Broken]to random classes every year.
 
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  • #13
loseyourname
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Ivan Seeking said:
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?
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.
 
  • #14
wolram
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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
honestrosewater
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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
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Evo said:
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
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
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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
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SpaceTiger said:
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.
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.
 
  • #21
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i know the words to somewhere in the promximity of 1000 songs
 
  • #22
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i think
ok i lied 500
but i have 2000 on the pc and i know most of them
 
  • #23
honestrosewater
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Well, I just thought of this, but if you consider three features of language, discreteness, semanticity (linguistic units map to other 'real world' objects), and arbitrariness, you can draw an analogy between language and Analog-to-Digital/Digital-to-Analog Converters. I won't ramble on about everything that falls out of that analogy, but a lot of stuff does! :tongue2:

I did a little test-run with a few songs and noticed that I don't really remember the music -- I remember the lyrics -- and I remember them in stanzas, with the intervening music not really stored -- (so) I recalled some stanzas out of order -- and I seem to rely heavily on the pitch information, intonational melody, and such that is stored in the lyrics in order to recall and reconstruct the music. There's also a definite difference between recalling lyrics to music and recalling literary works like poetry and plays. For example, I can recall Shakespeare faster than I can speak it -- and with very little effort -- but it's almost like I need to build the whole song in order to recall just the lyrics. (I'm just learning an audio editing program, and I think this is how they store files -- instead of storing the original song and rewriting each change, they store only the changes that you make, which are kind of layed over top of the originial and need it in order to play -- and note how much easier you can recall a song that you are listening to at that moment. Anywho.)

This doesn't surprise me because I'm a language person and don't know enough music notation and terminology to have built an efficient ADC, if you will. But I wonder what information someone like ST, who 'speaks music fluently', has stored and in what form. Does he remember, e.g., the actual notes (i.e., he recalls auditory signals and hears them 'in his head') or linguistic information like the letters that are assigned to the notes (which he can then convert to sound signals).

Oh, and if you add in a writing system, you can switch to the visual channel, so you're not stuck with temporal ordering and can make better use of matrices and such. Anywho, did I say I wasn't going to ramble? Woops. :redface:
 
  • #24
SpaceTiger
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Chi Meson said:
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.
Wow! So you think most people know that many by your age and just don't realize it?
 
  • #25
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10,000 sounds like a bit much. I only have about 8,000 songs in my computer. I can't imagine knowing the lyrics to every single one of them. Most of the time i know exactly how the song goes but i have trouble understanding what the vocalist is actually saying. This is why one of the projects i'm thinking of doing is a music player that actually shows the song's lyrics as the song is playing. I think this would make listening to a song a much more complete experience.
 
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