Philip Fine discusses research revealing the factors behind how well we understand song lyrics
Have you ever wondered why you can’t always understand the words someone is singing? Or why operatic sopranos are so hard to understand? And why the words are usually clearer in folk than in heavy rock?
Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear?
Sometimes we mishear the lyrics, and this is such a common phenomenon that there’s even a word for it: Mondegreen, coined in 1954, which comes from a mishearing of the ballad line ‘laid him on the green’ as ‘Lady Mondegreen’. Other well-known examples include the hymn line ‘Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear’ (think teddy with a squint) and ‘O Four Tuna’ (‘O Fortuna’ from the start of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana).
Ever wondered why some people are better at playing the violin than others? Mystified by those who knock off the Times cryptic crossword in only 5 minutes? Curious as to why some people pursue niche hobbies – like campanology, mycology or button-collecting?
Want to know what makes people creative (or not), and how creative thinking might be enhanced? So do we!
Based at the University of Buckingham, our CREATE research hub is dedicated to probing these questions, and more. Together with our guest bloggers and collaborators from other Universities, we’ll be sharing our thoughts and discoveries along the way.
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