Megan Thorsen

Waking Songs

Project Summary

I often wake with a song lingering in my head. These songs are not consciously chosen or triggered, and I rarely remember any dream context that might have been related to them. There is some overlap, but a large portion of them are not songs I ever get stuck in my head during the day. I decided to log all the songs playing in my head when I awoke, to the best of my ability.

Show me the data/insights!

Not sure why you would, but if you want to make use of this personal data that I'm sharing with you, please contact me about it first. If you just want to mimic the project style, go right ahead! Would love it if you let me know. I'd love a glimpse into what happens in others' brains.

Data limitations and resolutions

There are some obvious limits to my ability to log this data consistently.

The first two difficulties sadly can’t be avoided, and there’s no way to know how much they cause under-logging, or whether there is a bias in the missing data.

Similarly the last item is unavoidable unless I cloister myself away from external music sources, and only use a music service that tracks exactly what I played when. And always remember to turn it off when I leave. None of those things are gonna happen.

If I can’t identify the song, I do my best to write down as much as I remember about the lyrics and style, and if I couldn’t make out any lyrics I do my best to reproduce the melody line in a recording and ask someone who I believe is familiar with the music style. Usually I eventually manage to identify the song, but not always. There have been two where the artist and release date remain blank to this day, though I am still confident they are real songs.

Amazingly, so far I have always been sure whether the song was a real one or one that my unconscious mind constructed. For constructed songs I just record the current year as the “release” year, and “My Brain” as the author. There have been 9 of these made up “songs”, if you count the one that was a metal cover of “La Isla Bonita”.

Future work

I intend to automate and improve the process, the data, and the visualization more and more over time.