Why We Remember Song Lyrics So Easily

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Why is it that you have to try much harder to memorize your class notes than song lyrics? In fact, it might seem that you can memorize the lyrics to an entire album without even trying. You might feel like song lyrics are the only things that can stick to your brain, but the reasoning behind why this is, is fascinating. Repetition, Connections, Rhyme and Pattern are contributing factors to why it seems like it is easier to memorize song lyrics.

We remember music lyrics the same way we remember other things, by repetition. Along with repetition comes practice. Think about a dancer. He or she must repeatedly rehearse the dance they are learning over and over again so that they can remember it. Somewhat similarly, if you like a song you hear on the radio, you might listen to it over and over again. By repeating and practicing some tasks, such as memorizing song lyrics, become almost unconscious.

Connections also contribute to why memorizing some things are easier than others. Our brains use networks to retrieve and store information. It is easier for our brain to locate information that has more associations. When we remember lyrics to a song, we often remember a specific voice, sound, or instrument. All of these help us remember the words that were paired with.

Rhyme and Pattern also help us remember things. If you listen to the rhymes within a song, it is often easy to predict some of the context of the next line. The pattern of the song lyrics, or the beats, helps us line up the amount of syllables of the line. If you are trying to match the amount of syllables of one line to the next, there are many words you can eliminate.This makes it easier to predict what some of the lyrics might be.

In this article, an experiment was conducted. The first experiment was examining the word and tunes presented in an unfamiliar song. The second experiment was looking at memory for spoken words and tunes sung without words. The results clearly stated that the words were better memorized when sung with a song.

So, whether it is song lyrics or you class notes, repetition is important. Connections also play a key role in memorization. However, song lyrics seem easier to memorize because not only are they repeated, but they have a rhyme and pattern that our class notes often do not have.

2 thoughts on “Why We Remember Song Lyrics So Easily

  1. lmaches5

    I have wondered about this for a while now, thanks for posting about it. I always seem to remember lyrics, even from songs that I haven’t listened to in years! While it’s fun to sing along, having a brain full of song lyrics isn’t necessarily useful to me. I guess I didn’t realize how much repetition influences remembering lyrics, but it makes complete sense. When I like a song, I will play it several times throughout the day maybe even for a few days in a row; it’s no wonder I am able to memorize it! It is also interesting how we are able to predict context because of the rhyme and pattern of songs and that these processes happen fairly automatically. I wouldn’t say I put much effort in learning song lyrics, but by applying these concepts to school work, I think I might be able to engage in more effortful and effective studying. Being more familiar with material, might just mean engaging with is more frequently! Instead of sitting down to study once for several hours reading pages and pages of notes, it might be more beneficial to encounter the material more often!

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