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Tunes vs. words - how do you process music?

  1. No, I have little or no trouble doing this.

    6 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Yes, I have difficulty doing this too! You are not a freak! (At least this specific regard)

    6 vote(s)
    50.0%
  3. Other.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Aug 26, 2006 #1

    DaveC426913

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    delete!

    I have always had what appears to be a rather limiting perception of music - specifically vocals.

    I am unable or unwilling to understand word in the music I listen to. People always say, "I really like these words" or "this song has so much meaning" and I'm like all "What?"

    When I listen to music, I hear the vocals as simply another muscial instrument. A very complex one, granted. I mean, the words are important as if they are individual notes in a melody (humming is not the same at all), but I am unable to understand the meaning of the words while simultaneously listening to the tune/melody. Not 100%, mind. I do get much, but there's definitely an element of partial deafness to this input.

    If asked to listen to the lyrics, I can do so, but then I have to filter out the music. If asked to listen to the melody, I am unable to understand the import of the words.

    Nobody I know seems to have any trouble doing both simultaneously.


    I hypothesize that it is due to a relatively poor communication between my left (speech/analytical) and right(creative/musical) brain hemispheres (despite the fact that it is in fashion to consider brain specialization debunked).

    Anyone else experience this phenom?
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2006 #2
    I think its like trying to have one hand make a clockwise circle and one leg make a counter clockwise circle. Your brain isnt designed to do it. I think your brain is also not designed to discern both the lyrics and the melody at once distinctly. Though I could be wrong.
     
  4. Aug 27, 2006 #3

    Kurdt

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    I too have always believed that vocals are another musical instrument in songs and have debated this much with my friends. I never get what lyrics mean.
     
  5. Aug 27, 2006 #4

    Astronuc

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    Even when I read some lyrics, I don't get what they mean, but then I was never good at analyzing poetry. When it comes to a song with lyrics and music, I listen to both, but I generally focus more on the music (harmony, bass line, percussion, . . . ) as opposed to the meaning of the lyrics. And not only do I have trouble understanding the meaning of some lyrics, I have trouble even understanding the lyrics as sung because artists, more the modern ones, don't seem to annunciate. I've always ascribed it to a personal deficiency.
     
  6. Aug 27, 2006 #5

    JasonRox

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    Same here. I can't do both at all.
     
  7. Aug 27, 2006 #6

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

  8. Aug 27, 2006 #7

    Kurdt

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    Interesting that a lot of people on physics forums (i.e. scientists and mathematicians and related professions) have difficulty with the understanding of lyrics and the meanings of songs are far less important than the tunes themselves. As I said in the previous post I argue a lot with friends (who are not in scientific professions or studying science) about musics and they all seem to ascribe an equal importance on the lyrics and the meaning of the lyrics as the tune itself. I myself ascribe no importance to the meaning of the lyrics and base the decisions about the music I like solely on how good it sounds to me.

    Anyway I'd be interested to see how this difference in opinion splits because I feel very much in the minority with my take on music. I'm actually quite glad to hear that other people feel the same way.
     
  9. Aug 27, 2006 #8

    Mk

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    I can pick out certian instruments and voices in songs and observe those individually. Otherwise, I just hear the music as instruments/vocals that are not words, and words. It takes me several listens before I can identify the words though.
     
  10. Aug 27, 2006 #9
    Alot of song lyrics are incomprehensible (you can't make out what they're saying, or, you can make it out but it's random phrases) even if you do listen to them, so normally I don't bother.

    Sometimes, though, it becomes clear after hearing a song many times that the lyrics are actually quite good and understanding them makes it a much more interesting song.
     
  11. Aug 27, 2006 #10

    DaveC426913

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    Enhancement to poll in subsequent thread

    This poll has been enhanced. See here.
     
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