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Anecca

Do You Hear Music In Your Head As You Go To Sleep?

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As composers I'm sure we're all familiar with our ability to spontaneously summon musical imagery in our heads and we can evenly consciously make an effort to direct how this imagery is to be continued and resolved.

However - and I'm sure it will be the case - can you listen to music as you're drifting into sleep? When you're between that phase in which you're not quite awake or asleep? I find that if I make an effort to remain conscious during this period, music will naturally flow in my head, with no energy required to make it happen - it happens all by itself. It's music I didn't even know I could create, and it often belongs to a mix of genres.

It's nice to think about, because I think that this innate ability suggests that there is something in all of us that can inherently make music, as if it were some natural gift or aptitude. Is it due to alpha waves in our brains? Perhaps some regions in our brains have altered their blood flow as to emphasize these music-producing regions or maybe some other regions have been "tuned down", making other regions stand out?

I don't know but this has been bugging me for some time and I would like to know if you have experienced this as well.

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Surely I can answer with a "yes", though I'm not able to give any kind of explanation about its causes. All I can say is that I have experienced it myself - and sometimes it's indeed such an interesting music that it prevents me from sleeping until I jump back from the bed and quickly jot down at least the "basic" skeleton of it - or face a sleepless night only to find out the next morning that I've forgotten it all. (BTW, the theme for the second movement of my Adriana Suite, uploaded in this site, came to me this way).

I don't know for sure why does this happen, or even if it's a widespread occurrence among composers and music-sensitive people, or a less common phenomenon, such as synaesthesia. All I know is that it happens to me - and find it a bit funny to see I'm not the only one.

EDIT: 300th post :horrified:

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I don't see what's so surprising, with this so-called 'phenomenon'. You're at your most relaxed state, free from your distracting life. You're not trying to force anything, and voila! Especially if you just listened to music as you drifted...Music can arouse your 'third-ear' even during the day, so why not when you're on that level?

Maybe you should learn to silence your mind in your waking state.

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Although I hear music in my head constantly, there is definitely an increase in creativity at the point the OP is referring to. I also get a mix of genres. Sometimes I will hear entirely new, fully-constructed pieces in my dreams too (though sometimes these are presented as the work of someone else).

Unfortunately, although I would love to be able to remember them all and write them down, I can usually only remember a tiny amount (maybe a motif or something), if that. And since I often have trouble falling back to sleep, I don't bother with writing it down in the middle of sleep. I do wonder if I've missed out writing some pieces I would think are great in real life....

There is the often-reported story that Keith Richards heard I Can't Get No Satisfaction in his sleep, wrote something down, but if he hadn't, the song would never have existed because he forgot about it by the morning.

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I think I remember reading somewhere that alpha brainwaves mostly happen during a relaxed, wakeful state with closed eyes, and that they're believed to be the cause of things like creativity.

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 I used to listen to the CDs of my Suzuki books when I was younger on a tape. I have no idea how I fell asleep with the noise. These days,  I swear I hear a Bach concerto in my head ( From Book 7).

 And for dreams, I had one where I was playing the cello like a pro (I do not play cello) in a orchestra. I do remember some of the score because of my photographic memory (yay!) I think it's a new piece, not a previously composed one.

 Also, I had a dream set to music. I only remember the first few bars, though.

Edited by lucy33312

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For those of you hearing music: how 'original' would you say it is, in terms of resemblance to already existing works?

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Yes, I have experienced exactly what you described. I have heard music in my head, that was clearly beyond my composing skills and yet I could do it easily in the phase between awake and sleep. 

It is quite a fascinating experience.

I have also heard music in my dreams. The music in dreams sounds in a very interesting way, even if it is very simple melodies.

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Guest Kibbletime

i recently dreamt about hearing an original cycle of songs in its entirety. like tartini's dream the whole thing felt extrinsic and new. i thought to myself that the lyrics and the treatment were amazing and the form and harmony were worth stealing. they certainly stood out from my ordinary scratches in quality if i were deemed worthy of the authorship. i've also had dreams in which i got to listen to pieces and process them in greater detail than i ever could awake. some came from one time exposure at concerts i'd been. i wonder if it was just the impression of reproducing the whole thing or actual subconscious retention i dreamt. it'd be awesome to be able to bypass hours of playing and internalising and memorising and hit play like that.

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For those of you hearing music: how 'original' would you say it is, in terms of resemblance to already existing works?

 

Music can be original?

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I usually hear music in my head as I got to sleep. However I recently had a very strange dream where I was playing an keyboard instrument that produced a sound similar to bells. Needless to say it was a lucid dream and I was completely self aware, and the music was glorious, however when I awoke I had forgotten the entirety of the piece. It was a rather bittersweet experience.

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I don't see what's so surprising, with this so-called 'phenomenon'. You're at your most relaxed state, free from your distracting life. You're not trying to force anything, and voila! Especially if you just listened to music as you drifted...Music can arouse your 'third-ear' even during the day, so why not when you're on that level?

Maybe you should learn to silence your mind in your waking state.

I know this is old, but I can't resist...  

"You're not trying to force anything, and voila!"  Or did you mean, "viola!"  Hahahhaa!  Okay.  I feel better now.  (:

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Heh... this is my life.  I have constant recurring dreams that I have to sing in concert and I can't "quite" read the music...  So I'm listening to the people around me and trying to see the score, and the notes are jumping around the page.  Like if I keep my finger on them, they stay still and I can read them, but every time I look up at the conductor, I lose my place.  Or I'm supposed to be singing something from memory that I just don't know.  But the music is always there in the dream.  And since I can't read the music, I just try my best to make up a part that goes along and fits with the other parts I can hear.  

 

Sometimes I remember it enough to write something down later.  Usually not.  

 

I swear I have a musical stress dream at least once a night.  Or I'm rescuing someone.  Kid doing solo who doesn't know the music so I leap on stage too.  I don't know the music either, but at least then the poor little kid isn't up there alone.  

 

It's a recurring theme, along with tidal waves and driving my car off the road.  Glad this isn't just me.  Oh, the sleeping mind knows so much that we don't know...

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I have heard music in my dreams. The music in dreams sounds in a very interesting way, even if it is very simple melodies.

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As composers I'm sure we're all familiar with our ability to spontaneously summon musical imagery in our heads and we can evenly consciously make an effort to direct how this imagery is to be continued and resolved.

However - and I'm sure it will be the case - can you listen to music as you're drifting into sleep? When you're between that phase in which you're not quite awake or asleep? I find that if I make an effort to remain conscious during this period, music will naturally flow in my head, with no energy required to make it happen - it happens all by itself. It's music I didn't even know I could create, and it often belongs to a mix of genres.

It's nice to think about, because I think that this innate ability suggests that there is something in all of us that can inherently make music, as if it were some natural gift or aptitude. Is it due to alpha waves in our brains? Perhaps some regions in our brains have altered their blood flow as to emphasize these music-producing regions or maybe some other regions have been "tuned down", making other regions stand out?

I don't know but this has been bugging me for some time and I would like to know if you have experienced this as well.

 

Especially if I've already begun a piece, occasionally while sleeping I'll start dreaming about it, hearing it as if an orchestra were playing a finished version, and wake up as thought from a nightmare and head over and starting writing down what I can remember or just write out of the creative impetus of the shock. . 

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