Saturday, December 04, 2010

I can see the music!

Alarm clocks are not meant to go off at 0600 Monday through Wednesday, 0500 on Thursday, and then 02frickin'00 on Friday and Saturday. I'm just sayin'...

I mean, I guess I should be happy, since it gives me a chance to be productive during hours I might have otherwise wasted doing something useless, like getting a good night's sleep. The problem is that by sunrise, I'm hearing music that isn't there and holding long conversations with the cat.

By the way, does anybody else get that thing with the music in a quiet house? Like when it's totally silent around the house and you're home alone and not even the HVAC is running, your brain interprets some low noise at the threshold of hearing as music you can't quite hear? And why does mine always interpret it as big band music? I don't even especially like big band music...

31 comments:

Whitebread said...

I routinely work from 1400-0000, then 0000-0500 at extra duty gigs. I like to think that I know a little something about sleep deprivation, and I can't say I've *ever* heard music that wasn't there. I do start to see movement that isn't there after a while. This can get very entertaining for the officer riding shotgun when you're driving back to the station...

Tam said...

Whitebread,

"...and I can't say I've *ever* heard music that wasn't there."

The music isn't necessarily just a sleep deprivation thing for me, it's just what my brain does when it's really quiet and there's a faint rhythmic or cyclic noise just at the edge of hearing. For some reason, my audio processing center goes ahead and interprets it as music, but only if it's "running in the background" so to speak; if I actually stop reading and listen to it, I can usually figure out the actual source of the sound.

d said...

Back in my seafaring days the engineroom would talk to me after a few days awake, particularly if it had been a few hours since encountering another human being. Same concept, background noise being subconsciously interpreted to fit into a standard category. It happens more when you're running at reduced capacity, your brain only has so much it can handle on the conscious side, so excess gets shunted to the subconscious and sometimes things get weird.

Carteach0 said...

I have heard that music you speak of a lot, and living in a very, very old house makes the tune an interesting one. The key to getting rid of it is to provide a little background music of your own.

Me, I have a fire going in the stove as much as I can. That usually makes music I truly enjoy.

I suspect you are spot on as to the source of the music.

perlhaqr said...

I dunno, the fan in my computer is loud enough that even now, at 0600 hours, there's not really any "silence" in my office.

Maybe if I went out to the living room, but then I'd be wrenching on my motorcycle, and that sure isn't quiet.

Tam said...

perlhaqr,

The Dark Tower's fan isn't rated in CFM so much as LBST, and sometimes it's the subtle harmonics buried in its noise that cause the music.

Anonymous said...

I don't hear music, just voices at the lower limit of audibility...muttering, murmuring voices...chanting...sometimes I can almost make out "redrum, redrum, redrum"...

wv: dompa. Yeah, sometimes I hear that too, muttered softly in the night...

cap'n chumbucket

Newbius said...

You may not like big band music, but your subconscious does...

Anonymous said...

Had that bad when I got back from Iraq. Now it's kind of pleasant.

wv - "froopi", well, maybe a little...

Old Grouch said...

Yep. Just the brain trying to recognize patterns where there really aren't any.

A big band in full voice produces a rather wide energy spectrum; it maps well with pink noise.

Stretch said...

What passes for my brain turns near silence into distant voices. Just a shade above audible but no where close to intelligible. If the ambient noise is over 12,000 Hz (guesstimate) I start to hear bagpipes.

Joel said...

8^)

Happens to me all the time, Tam. It's a sign that you've spent too much time hermitting in the desert and have completely lost your mind.

Sorry.

The good news is that it's non-fatal and saves you loads of time and money on music downloads. But if coyotes start talking to you, it's time to worry.

Graybeard said...

OK. Completely tragically geek story. When it's dead quiet, or just some random whitish noise is present, I hear Morse code. I'd probably prefer some Benny Goodwin.

Like dreams, it's just our brains trying to interpret the stochastic rain of neurons firing. Pattern recognition is what we're good at. Shove a picture of a stool taken so that one leg eclipses another in front of any 3 year old and they'll tell you it's a stool. You'll choke any vision recognition software I've ever seen.

Stranger said...

I'm with Greybeard. Morse in Polish or some language I don't know at a nice 30 WPM, sometimes with a decided "banana boat swing." I know I'm overtired when it changes to some language I know.

Stranger

irishdutchuncle said...

the sound you're hearing is the circulation of your blood, through your eardrums. (it means you're alive)

Anonymous said...

I'll trade you my tinnitus for your music straight up.
Rey B

LabRat said...

More nerve traffic going from the brain to the ears telling them what to listen for than there is traffic coming in from the ears to the brain telling it what's being heard... as others have observed in different ways. Pretty much all our sensory experiences are massively context-dependent and constructed by the brain rather than direct reflection of physical reality.

I get a pretty wide assortment- either voices, music, or animal noises. The latter I suspect because I've always got an ear cocked for the pets getting into something they shouldn't. I'm halfway surprised there are no parents here yet saying the same thing about hearing children.

perlhaqr said...

Mine is similarly constructed, with 3 120mm fans on the case itself, in addition to the power supply fan, the video card fan, and the gigantic baroque copper finned monstrousity sitting atop the CPU.

And then I destroy the airflow characteristics by leaving the side panel off, which sure doesn't do anything for my sound dampening either. :)

Will said...

I hear music every time I turn on the shower. When it gets really quiet, my tinnitis starts ringing.

perlhaqr: I've seen nothing to indicate computer makers know anything about airflow, and almost nothing about heat control. Mostly, I suspect it is all done by marketing types for appearance, and fab types for cost. When you see intake fans with no air to intake, that's a clue.

Bruce H. said...

Yep. Sometimes it's quiet voices in the next room. Sometimes it's music I can't quite distinguish. Sometimes it's boring electronic music with a really short repeat, like 3 to 5 seconds.

WV: kotrubb - more TSA jokes

rickn8or said...

Similar to Rey B, quiet subtle sounds get lost in the tinnitus. What makes it past THAT gets drowned in the other voices in my head.

John A said...

Yes, it is just you mind trying to assign meaning to a meaningless input. And yes, that can be as little as blood passing by the ear canal[s].

A psych-doc once asked me the standard "do you hear voices" question: I couldn't resist, I answered "yes" and proceeded to explain the phenomenom - but I already knew the doc had a sense of humor or I would not.

Gewehr98 said...

Hee-Hee!

"Dark Tower"

That's probably better than what I named it. Although "Leviathan" went well with the desktop graphic... ;-)

With winter now having arrived at Roseholme, you can probably throttle back the turbofan thrust a smidgen and still keep temps reasonable. That will reduce the decibels and white noise emissions. Then you're on your own coming up with musical interludes from mouse clicks, etc.

Christina LMT said...

Happens to me, too. Especially in the house I'm currently residing in. Also, LabRat, not necessarily hearing children's voices, but still conditioning: Even though my kids are much older, I STILL turn around anytime I hear a small child yell, "MOM!" :D

og said...

I get tinnitus the quieter it gets.

I have a freind who claims to hear crickets.

In january

I was hunting with him today, in fact, and asked him if he was hearing and "Snow crickets"

perlhaqr said...

Will: I've seen nothing to indicate computer makers know anything about airflow, and almost nothing about heat control. Mostly, I suspect it is all done by marketing types for appearance, and fab types for cost. When you see intake fans with no air to intake, that's a clue.

That's certainly possible, but I built this box myself. I'm pretty well certain the airflow diagrams work right if I put the panels on. Though, realistically, it's overkill, since I'm not overclocking my chip any. :)

Anonymous said...

A form of pareidolia. Either that or Glenn Miller's haunting the joint.

MJ

Brad K. said...

Tam,

I did a stint programming in a big cement building without windows. I found that some of the highest-energy music I have for working at 2:30 and later in the morning, was the "Unforgettable Glenn Miller" CD.

Until that gig, I hadn't really liked Glenn Miller or any big bands, except I enjoyed Jimmy Stewart in "The Glenn Miller Story".

Then I followed some of the music from Disney's animated "Jungle book" to some of Louis Prima's work. I am still not much of a general Big Bands fan, though I guess I am a bit more willing to listen, now. Then Minnie Driver in "Return To Me" and that music brought me to some early (1950s) Dean Martin. Cool.

SteveO said...

When I was learning Morse code, I had an intermittently squeaky ceiling fan in my bedroom. I'd wake up from trying to decipher the squeaks in my dreams.

Jennifer said...

I hear strings warming up when I am driving the turnpike. That's just what my mind does with the harmonics of my tires and the road. If I am tired, sometimes I get the whole orchestra. I just wish they'd play something instead of only warming up.

John B said...

So basically asking you to the 40's gala dance is contra-indicated?