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It has happened to you. Some song wriggles its way into your brain and won't leave. Now imagine that the distant tune in the back of your head suddenly becomes very real. A real song. Real drums. Real guitar. Volume. These are called musical hallucinations and there are some people who actually suffer from them on a daily basis.

We hear first from Leo Rangell who awoke one day to the sound of a rabbi singing. Twelve years later, the music is still there. He talks with reporter Lulu Miller about what he thinks the music is trying to tell him. Then Michael Chorost-- a writer who abruptly went deaf one day--tells us about how a world without sound is filled with music.

We talk to scientists Oliver Sacks, Diana Deutsch, and Tim Griffiths to try to understand WHY our brains would produce such vivid music.


Michael Chorost, Diana Deutsch, Tim Griffiths, Leo Rangell and Dr. Oliver Sacks

Comments [50]


This episode was very validating for me. I constantly have orchestral music in my head with complete orchestration. Sometimes, I have multiple compositions going on at once. It can be quite maddening.

It's not always bad, though.

Apr. 12 2017 11:06 PM
Sally from Ipswich, Ma

I have had musical hallucinations since I underwent surgery in November of 2015. It was so refreshing to hear this story. It validated what may otherwise sound crazy. I am hearing impaired and wear hearing aides. Initially the music was very loud, but have softened somewhat. If there is sound in my surroundings, such as radio, TV or voices, I can't hear the music. It only occurs when I'm alone in a quiet environment.. I don't have control over the " playlist ." Right now "Auld Land Syne " is repeating over and over. Like the 90+ year old gentleman in the piece, the tempo and volume often changes. I have no control over the songs I hear and have tried to listen to my iTunes playlist instead, but as soon I'm in a quiet space, the unwelcome tunes come back. The most bizarre was the timing of La Marseille, which I heard hours before the Paris terrorist attacks.

Mar. 21 2016 09:39 AM
Papa Whiskey

I know a cure for unwanted earworms, but the cure may be worse than the affliction.

Mar. 19 2016 06:15 PM
Neil Friedman

I have this experience all the time. Songs just popped into my head. I have always been intrigued by this phenomenon but never gave it to much thought. It was enough just to enjoy the music. Having listened to this program I'm going to start paying more attention to the music I hear and to the emotions behind it and what the songs have to tell em about what i am feeling and why. Thank you for this program.

Mar. 19 2016 12:26 PM
Sheila from Plymouth, MA

I have had this going on as long as I can remember. I wake up every day with a song in my head. It stays with me constantly, so I need to have a radio on all the time to stop the same song from cycling all day. Sometimes I can relate it to what is going on in my life at the time, but sometimes it is bizarre. One morning it was "On the Good Ship Lollypop". Where did THAT come from? Or worse, one day it was the old TV public service jingle for wearing seatbelts "Buckle Up for Safety". That was particularly annoying over and over. Yesterday was the Tupperware jingle. It is incessant and unstoppable.

Mar. 18 2016 09:24 AM

Since reading the weird cases in Sacks' book, I always wondered how complete the renderings of the songs were. It seems that most of them say it sounds exactly as if they're listening to the music but they also seem not to recall the lyrics exactly. Or in the case of more complex music like a symphony, do they really hear all of the instruments?

Oct. 19 2015 04:41 PM
Kimbelry Martin from Falmouth Kentucky

I always thought having a song stuck in your head was so odd, but knowing that there are other people out there with the same experience makes me feel relaxed knowing the fact that it is okay to have that song in your head, leave it there!!! Radiolab first time ever hearing this website and I already like it!!! Made so much sense to me!!!

Feb. 16 2015 03:38 PM
Monique from nyc

I had the Connect The Dots song from PeeWee's Playhouse stuck in my head for 2.5 days while I was in labor with my daughter. Not sure if the significance. After she was delivered, the song changed to The Ramones' I Wanna Be Sedated. This significance was obvious!

May. 30 2014 02:42 PM
Cyndee Garabedian from New York

My 83 year old Mom has musical hallucinations, and has dealt with them since my Dad's death 10 years ago. In addition, she is extremely hard of hearing and has tinnitus, to boot. She thought she was crazy, like many of the other people who have reported on this. I found interesting articles on "Musical Ear Syndrome" which shed some light on the condition. One thing that helps her is to have the radio playing loudly to counter the music she hears.
Is it possible to get a transcript of this episode for her to read? I know she would greatly appreciate it.
Many thanks!

Mar. 20 2014 08:58 PM
Bobbie Price from Houston, Tx

I have just listed to this broadcast and have the same probem. I will be 59 in April and last year in January I had sugery for blockage in my left leg. I knew last year that I was losing my hearing in my right year but hadn't been to the doctor for it as I believed it was just "old age". I first noticed the music in my right ear about 8 months ago or so. I hear it all the time, especially when my surroundings are quiet. I thought a radio was on very low in the house when I first noticed it, looked all over for the radio, just didn't know what it was. I'm not sure if I hear singing, although I sing along sometimes. I mostly hear patriotic songs, big band and symphony music that I recognize. My doctor just laughed when I told him I don't have ringing in my ear, just music. Now I know what it is and that it is real. I just wish it were oldies rock music. I can't stop it and have learned to just let it play.

Feb. 04 2013 12:16 PM

When I was little (maybe 5) I used to always have a song in my head. Well, I never remembered the whole song so it was more of a fragment of a song. It would play over and over again for about a week before it changed to something else. Every moment of every day would be filled with music. I remember sitting in the car with my dad on the way to my uncle's house and telling him that I "always had a song in my head." He was pleased and started telling everyone that I might grow up to be a musician. He didn't understand. This was torture. I would lie awake for hours every night trying and failing to go to sleep, that week's fragment looping over and over again in my mind. I remember it plaguing me for a very long time before I figured out how to make it stop. I would literally just say "SHHHH" as loud as I could in my mind. At first I would just hear it over the music. I kept on doing it, constantly, over and over. "SSHHHHH, SHHHHHHHHH, SHHHHHHHH." Eventually, the music would quiet when I thought "SHHHH" and instantly ramp back up when the shush ended. Then, it would pause during the shush and continue afterwards or in the spaces in between. After that, there would be a split second pause after the shush. It was then that the shushes went from being something to give me temporary relief to being something that I could use to push the music back. And that's what I did. I learned to extend the pauses longer and longer after each hush until the music went away for good. I didn't really like music for a long time after that until my late teens.

Sep. 16 2012 04:39 PM

When I was a teenager I learned the secret to getting a song out of one's head. You sing in your head the first line or the chorus of Eddy Grant's Electric Avenue. "We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we'll take it higher." The trick is you have to stop there, you cannot keep going. I never shared this with anyone else but between the loops episode and this episode I decided to google it and apparently others know of the trick, but they don't advise you to stop after that one line. Also, this seems to be a song that gets stuck in people's head. Thanks for the great shows!

May. 20 2012 10:27 PM
Mark Harmon from Wyoming

What version of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" did you guys play during the Leo Rangell interview? It sounded awesome. Thanks.

Mar. 13 2012 04:10 PM
Rachel from Michigan

We always hear about people having songs stuck in their head, but what about it instead of being a song, a specific word is stuck in your head?

I have it happen fairly frequently and have started noticing a pattern - it's always an unfamiliar or hard to pronounce word. Currently, it's "comming-uppings"...which I learned is just a way of explaining that someone will get what they deserve.

I wondered if there was a term to describe this phenomenon specifically? Forums online mentioned perseveration and echolalia, but these didn't quite fit. I almost feel like its some sort of cognitive processing because of forums agreeing that these often arent simple, common words.

Feb. 08 2012 08:32 PM
Sebastian Doggart

Great segment. Here's a companion piece on the most powerful earworm of all:

Nov. 14 2011 10:24 AM
Marcia from Cambirdge, MA

It was wonderful to hear this "earworms" episode. I have always been able to hear scores and could notate them (esp. after majoring in music and having theory courses to help out).

I agree with the commenter who said he thinks he picks up scraps of melody (for me, even lyrics and rhythms) from the muzak in the world at large unconsciously, and later find himself humming a related tune, one that's been written and heard.

I also get songs that definitely relate to an emotional state. Like if I have "Lineman For the County" it's because I'm stressed at work and am thinking along the lines "I know I need a small vacation." When I think I look OK I think (horrors!) "How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people" from the Beatles. Those are obvious ones, but they occur many times per day. I consider this quite fun and entertaining, but I can see if they turn squirrely on me and I get held captive, as I sometimes do, it's NOT fun.

Nov. 07 2011 12:38 PM

(LAST IN SERIES)...Years later, watching the movie "Amadeus," I recognized the truth (and my own limitations) that composers can and do hear the music in their head, that the idea can spring fully-formed in orchestral arrangement and that even in advancing deafness (Beethoven) one can intuit a musical idea of great breadth and originality.

There are those of us that have music running through our heads, subconsciously, triggered by nothing more than recent experience and memory and sometimes intended to develop something altogether new. Yes, those of us who do this would be fascinated to know the science behind it.

In all my years as a composer I can absolutely say that some musical ideas are born of conscious trial and error and others just spring forth unintentionally. I am not one to think of this as something spiritually gifted to me, but from my constant experience I can say that most of the creative idea comes from a non-conscious source inside my head - whether a melody heard in my head or an accidental shift of tones absently played across the keyboard.

From my own experiences, I hope we can hear more about the science of imagining music from Radiolab in the future.

Aug. 30 2011 03:05 PM

The trick was to be able to imagine them repeated with the same sound, isolate the varied instrumental ideas and get them sketched on the paper before me - before they were gone. This was some serious trial and error, but in the course of several sessions I did sketch the entire score orchestration. (These were not very elaborate scores - for piano, guitar/banjo, 2 reeds, 2 trumpets, trombone, drum kit and mallet player - what the budget could afford.)

I feared that they may be dull. In fact, they looked rather pedestrian on paper. I took them to the piano and tried to play them so as to ascertain their quality. They seemed reasonable enough for the project.

I did not and do not to this day, have the ability to read a score and hear it play fully as written in my head. I can intuit a decent sense of the structure and rhythmic flow of the orchestration, however.

It wasn't until I was recording this new orchestration with the musicians that I was astounded at the quality of the orchestral ideas. I do not mean exceptional, original ideas, but simply that I could fairly mimic contemporary arrangements stretching the use of players, their musical kit (instruments they play) mutes and more - to develop a wide variety of fairly complex ideas.

I don't know if the end recordings sounded exactly as I heard them in that bedroom, I did not try to keep them in my head once sketched on the manuscript paper. But I can and do attest that by trusting my subconscious ear, without aid or reference to a musical instrument, I was able to imagine, hear, recognize and write down what was for me fairly complex orchestration ideas. (MORE)......

Aug. 30 2011 03:04 PM

Like with Arlen, I think it's safe to conclude that some songwriters and composers do intuit their melodies away from any musical instrument, having a sketch idea or fully-realized melody spring from their unconscious without any external musical reference (guitar, piano, etc.) We can and do hear and develop melodies exclusively in our head.

And this ability extends beyond mere melodic or the subsequent harmonic cadence which naturally follows the contours of the melody.

In my experience, it was a UCLA music teacher, in an orchestration class, that first proposed to me (and the class) that I could develop an ability to orchestrate my compositions by trusting my subconscious ear. (I cannot say that was his word for it, but this is my explanation these days.)

I was an extreme novice in orchestration among some very practiced and talented class composers and my immediate thought was to dismiss this idea as purely romantic. However, I had a deadline looming to create orchestrations for a one-act holiday musical play and was desperate to use this training to improve my new work.

One sunny Saturday afternoon, I took pencil, blank manuscript (4 stave system) paper and isolated myself in the bedroom - there to stare blankly at the walls and force my mind to play the orchestrations of the songs in my head. I remember having some fear that it was a wasted exercise and even worse, a stunted experiment. Nevertheless, once my mind was clear of external matters and I was focused on the melodies of each song, I very quickly started hearing fully formed orchestrations in my head.

What a shock!

Aug. 30 2011 03:02 PM

As for composing strictly by imaginative reasoning, that is: using the subconscious mind to intuit some melody - I find the practice for me creates mostly unsatisfying results. It is okay to subconsciously correct musical ideas sketched from experiment on the piano, but wildly unsatisfying to trust my inner ear to originate a complete melodic idea. What I find that occurs in the latter, is that my subconscious creates melodies that cleave close to maudlin, predictable, cliche harmonic cadences.

Such melodies will have some imagination or ease and familiarity about them, but they inevitably recall very juvenile use of harmony in their production. As my musical taste desires poly-tonal cadences, harmonic substitutions and secondary intervallic cadences moving within the shifting harmonies - the simplistic harmonic palette of my subconscious is a disappointment to my conscious ear.

Subsequently, I recall reading a biographical piece on Harold Arlen where he talked about writing "Somewhere over the Rainbow." Whether true or studio PR, he claims that he was under pressure to get the score written for the looming film production and was driving Hollywood Blvd one evening (either to or from home) when he heard (mentally developed) the chorus melody.

This was the A sections of the chorus that begin with the octave jump. I do not now recall how he developed the bridge (B section) - since it falls prey to the old joke about hearing a French police siren - but, generally the construction of a bridge melody is a melodic line that contrasts what is written in the A sections - so it often comes quickly - a result of being contrary to the first created A sections. (A popular song of that period has an AABA chorus.) (MORE).......

Aug. 30 2011 02:58 PM
PDXComposer from Portland

I am very sad to learn that the broadcast of this episode was a repeat from a few years back. (Well, better than hence, I guess.) I had hoped there might still be some discussion on it. But, I had never heard this program on the local station till last weekend and this broadcast.

Ah, well, now hopelessly late, I add a couple of notes. Perhaps it will spur a revisit of the topic in the future. Alert me, will you, if this happens?

In my earliest musical memories, I have always had music playing through my head. This is not so startling as it might sound. It is certain to occur because of the repetitiveness of listening some of us practice when young.

In deference to nature vs nurture, my father was an opera singer and the whole family steeped in musical listening and singing. A boy soprano, I too sang opera, operetta and later, as an adult, musical theater. So I developed a keen musical ear for intervallic recognition and mimicry. Through family singing games, I also established a natural sense of harmony and counterpoint. My father a singer, my mother an absent-minded whistler, I developed both musical habits - growing to prefer singing or whistling harmonies or harmonic counter lines to the melodies offered me live, on radio, record, tape or CD. In summary, it was natural for me to develop these more advanced musical talents as a result of my heredity and family life.

None of this explains why I wake up in the middle of the night and some well-known song would be playing in my head - all music, arrangement and lyrics - a repeat of the recording from which the original production came. This can occur upon awakening in the morning and at almost any hour of the day or night.

Not 24/7, mind you, but, usually when moving from sleep to an awakened state or when my mind is least clouded with challenges. Music is almost always running through my head when I am in a dull and repetitive task like physical labor. In the latter case, it is essentially the melody that is pulsing through my head and sometimes forming as a whistle under my breath - no small annoyance to my long-suffering wife.

I do not know why my brain provides my conscious mind this music - all known to me. And I should point out that as a professional composer, I hear my own songs playing in my head some of the time.

Of this I am certain, the trigger is usually a recent exposure to the song - within 24-48 hours. This also means that when I compose a new musical idea, it is likely that within the next 24-48 hours, the melody will begin absently playing through my head. If the song is still in development and should I consciously recognize that the scrap of melody is repeating in my brain, I have been known to recognize when I have subconsciously changed it - by rhythm or melodic cadence - often finding it superior to the original notation and permanently change it. I have learned to trust my subconscious mind's ability to self-edit the work.

Aug. 30 2011 02:52 PM
Lindsey from Oregon

I have always been musical. The only way I was able to express emotions was through music. I have heard music in my head all of my life but because I like music I never really thought much of it. I have a few conditions that have required medications and it took many years to find the right combo. But until then I have taken some meds that made me hallucinate. I heard voices. In a way it was a lot like hearing music none stop. I stumbled on Oliver Sacks' book and listened to the entire audiobook from my library. I was fascinated. I knew people got songs stuck in their heads but I never knew there were others that heard it as vividly as I do. I often wake up thinking that someone is playing music only to find I am the only one hearing anything. Thank you to Mr. Sacks and Radiolab for helping me find more info about hearing music.

Aug. 27 2011 03:56 PM
Chris from Boston, MA

I just ran across this picture today and decided I needed to post it here even though the show was aired forever ago.

it's remarkably effective. . . now it's going to be stuck in my head all day. . . crap.

May. 23 2011 09:40 AM
Andrew Viceroy from Oregon

I love this show to death. I was really hoping though, that in this episode or the whole Pop Music episode they would mention that we can have a song stuck in our heads when we go to sleep at night and yet it's still right there the very second we wake up... like it was just waiting for us. Lots of fun questions to explore about that.

Dec. 14 2010 03:06 AM
Daniel from Reno, NV

Awesome! I have problems with sleepwalking, and when I am laying in bed halfway asleep, I can sometimes "play" music... sit there listening to music I know isn't there. Of course, I can open my eyes, stand up, and it'll go away... I just figured that happens to everyone. I mean, you can "hear" when you're dreaming, can't you?

Oct. 19 2010 02:39 PM

Honestly, I never realized that earworms weren't that extreme for most people. I almost always have a song stuck in my head for as long as I can remember. On occasion one is really bad and it will play over and over for days at a time. One particularly frustrating experience was when I had Smashmouth's Allstar stuck in my head for over a week. Constantly playing. I would wake up in the morning hearing it...over and over the whole day. It was so bad that it was starting to effect my daily life by making me easily irritable and agitated all the time. Generally I just get Broadway show tunes stuck in my head. The Tetris theme too, but that is at least fun to play around with the rhythms. The only way I've ever really managed to get songs out of my head is to learn them so well that they no longer really stick. That's how I ultimately fixed the Allstar problem. I can think of it now without being in danger of it sticking again because I basically heard it to death.

Sep. 27 2010 10:48 AM
Kevin Ledoux from Lynchburg, VA

I wondered if the songs they heard were the actual singers & arrangements that they had once heard and were registered in their memories. Then they told of the songs changing - tempo etc. so it sounded like the mind doing its own arrangements to suit the moment. I've always referred to certain songs as being part of the "soundtrack of my life" - so maybe there's more to that than just memories...and the mind actually links music to memories and more specially, emotions. "Bring back, bring back, bring back my Bonnie to me" very sad - but lacking outside input, the mind took over and gave him the piece of the soundtrack of his life that subconscioulsy fit the moment....Amazing.

Sep. 24 2010 06:24 PM
KG from Portland. OR

Listening to the broadcast,(Earworms) ,last Saturday, I realized my jaw was hanging open & tears were running down my face.
Thank you for informing and amazing with such skill and sensitivity. Please keep bringing it on!

Sep. 02 2009 06:26 PM
Carey Johnston from Arlington, VA

Great show and podcast. This reminded me of a Mark Twain story I read way back in high school. Via Wikipedia, "A Literary Nightmare" is a short story written by Mark Twain in 1876. The story is about Twain's encounter with a virus-like jingle, and how it occupies his mind for several days until he manages to "infect" another person, thus removing the jingle from his mind.

Seems like earworms have been around for a while.

Jul. 18 2008 08:36 PM
WVPE Numero Uno from south bend ind

We get rebroadcasts of these shows pretty late in the sticks (No. Ind.) but I'm hoping that this comment still gets read and a response. I thought that the most interesting part of this show was the part on how research had shown that 70% of the nerve info flow in the ears was from the brain TO the ear... a counterintuitive finding. Without trying to download and listen to the whole podcast, can you (or a listener) post again here the name of the researchers involved in this field?

Jul. 12 2008 09:14 AM
batgrl from San Diego, CA

Um, Josh, you do realize that it's your local public radio station that's deciding when and how often to air those promos and not the producers of Radio Lab, right? You should email WAMU - usually local stations really appreciate this kind of listener feedback.

Meanwhile I really enjoyed this episode, wanted to say thank you. I especially found Leo Rangell's story very moving. If I ever end up having to pay for individual podcasts yours is definitely one I'll cough up the money for - in the meantime we contribute to our local public radio station, which unfortunately doesn't carry Radio Lab. Their loss.

May. 14 2008 01:29 PM
Josh from Washington, DC

Dear Sir,

Advertisements for this episode of Radiolab are currently running on WAMU, my friendly local public radio station. The advertisement prominently features repeated play of the pop song "Downtown". The first time I heard the advertisement, I thought it was amusing. The second time I heard it, it was faintly annoying. These days, all my wife and I do is sit around the house and repeatedly scream "WHEN YOU'RE ALONE AND LIFE IS MAKING YOU LONELY YOU CAN ALWAYS GO--DOWNTOWN!!!" at each other. I fervently hope that there is a special circle of hell reserved for you, your producer, your sound engineer, and anyone else involved in the infliction of this auditory monstrosity upon an unsuspecting public radio audience. If there is any justice, it will involve repeated play of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.


May. 03 2008 04:02 PM
Ethan from Dallas

P.S. to my previous comment:

I didn't even know that this was weird (though I always wanted to believe so). So, thanks, RadioLab, for making me feel special – if a bit worried that I may have been experiencing hallucinatory earworms for two decades. In addition, I would just like to add that Diana Deutsch’s “Sometimes Behave So Strangely” from 2006’s RadioLab kept me awake for weeks!

Apr. 30 2008 05:45 PM
Ethan from Dallas

I've had these “earworms” all my life. Like Mr. Rangell, the music in my head is a heavy contributor to insomnia, as it can be very hard to sleep when the songs really ramp up. I find that, similar to Mr. Chorost, the music becomes most noticeable when the world is silent – like it’s always there in the background waiting to be heard. It is amazing how intense the sound can be, how loud and distracting it becomes, and it can be very frustrating. However, oddly, sometimes I like it, and I get to worrying when it’s not there. I’m not sure why, but “You Belong To Me” from The Jerk has been a standby for ten or so years, cropping up when I walk to work, when I eat, when I lie down to sleep. At times when I am stressed, and my internal monologue won’t shut off, the music will go away, and it’s like I’m alone. It helps, though, to conjure Bernadette Peters’s sweet, almost childlike voice, and once the song comes to the fore, it shoves the self-loathing, or worry, or doubt away. The trumpet solo can echo for days, but I don’t mind it when there are worse things that could be filling my head.

Apr. 30 2008 05:44 PM
Jennifer from Austin, TX

Dear Raiolab-

I have an earworm whose meaning, like Leo Rangell, I have pinpointed to a particular moment in my life: listening to Radiolab's program on earworms. Let me explain...

I'm working on my dissertation, and this often requires work at all hours. I find that at 2 in the morning I need to listen to some music to get the energy flowing and stave off the cravivng for sleep. A quick listen to the '90s dance music station usually (unfortunately?) does the trick -- or it did, until I listened to Earworms. You see, one of the staples of the station is the dance remix of "Tom's Diner," the song that was relentlessly hummed at the beginning of the program. The song then becomes lodged in between my brain and my ear, followed quickly by "Those were the days" and various Dolly Parton songs that were played in the rest of the program. On the plus side, I've decided that the only remedy is to stop listening to crappy '90s dance music, so I guess thanks are in order!

Apr. 30 2008 12:12 AM

This happens to me all the time - I'm amazed that there's a radiolab show on it! Except I don't consider it an affliction that I "suffer" from. Quite the opposite - I treasure it. Admittedly, I don't hear songs change in tempo, so that must help.

I am a songwriter, so when these songs come in my head (with full orchestration) I start to play with it. Sometimes purely original songs - with everything from bass lines and drums intact - start to play. When writing down the melody, I sometimes find it's an amalgamation of all sorts of melodies that I have been listening to throughout the day.

In someways I don't view myself as the "writer", but rather as a human radio receiver for an energy field that is floating around us. We are continually surrounded by hidden melodies - from people talking to buses driving by to the bleeps and bloops of our computers. The sounds of our day seep in, and then start to seep out as a song.

It's beautiful, and I consider myself very lucky to be able to hear it.

Apr. 29 2008 02:55 PM
Joey from SF

I don't know if this will work for the folks interviewed for this article, but whenever I get a song stuck in my head I sing the theme song to the Monkees (Hey, hey we are the monkees). For some reason that song has a low stickiness factor so once it replaces that other song it goes away. Great show.

Apr. 26 2008 01:46 AM
Ryan Fitz Gibbon from brooklyn, ny

yes! i can't wait for tomorrow!

Apr. 21 2008 05:13 PM
Will from Buffalo, NY

Thanks! I'll be counting the days.

Apr. 21 2008 12:03 AM
amelia from NH, USA


Apr. 16 2008 06:47 PM
Lulu @ Radiolab

Hey folks! This whole episode will be available online as soon as we podcast it. Which is SOON. April 22!

Apr. 15 2008 10:13 AM
Ian from Commuting Student on the run

I just heard the laughter episode(?) today, listened to an entire show for the first time and I appreciated it greatly. However, I too am interested in downloading or hearing the stream of this music episode for personal enjoyment and educational purposes.

Apr. 15 2008 12:18 AM
Will from Buffalo, NY

Ahh! Where is this one? Help me I might miss a Radiolab!

Keep up the great work guys, but for God's sake don't get me hooked and then forget to post one. I'm in withdrawal here.

Apr. 13 2008 08:44 PM
-Frank. from Hamburg, Germany

Your shows are quite a unique experience, I never listened to anything like it before.

Keep up the good work,


I nearly forgot: I’ve got the same question as my three predecessors – why isn’t this episode downloadable?

Mar. 31 2008 12:37 PM
Patrick from brooklyn, ny

i'll ask too, why isn't this episode downloadable?

Mar. 31 2008 10:07 AM
Blueray from California

Where can I get a download of this Earworms program?

Mar. 29 2008 12:20 PM

How come I can't listen to this online? I heard it being promoted last Friday and I really wanted to listen to it, but I don't see a download icon or anything. Is it something to do with copyright rules? Thank you for responding.

Mar. 27 2008 03:10 PM
Candice from Marathon, FL

I was captivated by this show and love how the sound "quotes" are engineered. Like Mr. Rangell, I have emotional-musical tags that pop up, but they have been with me since childhood, so I'm well-versed in what they mean in association with my current experience and how I truly feel about them. These little links to the unconscious are also sometimes witty, sometimes compassionate (like the comforting tune that pops in your head just when you need it). Thanks for this reminder of how wondrous and interesting the brain is!

Mar. 07 2008 10:22 PM
Jason 'Great White' (Shark)- Owner of The GW'sFBA from Community of Redland, NW of Homestead, Fl.

Wow, I remember the brand new trend in the 90s of having the characters on TV and movies holusinating wild things that are expressing their challenges in their current life. The only good example I can remember is the show 'Ali McBeal.' I used to slam others for watching such melodramatic people losing it. While thinking about what they are saying in this program I am thinking I was just to ridgit, because what the beginning of this shows talks about is only in a different medium of communication. Of course, I had never been given this information at that time.

Mar. 07 2008 03:30 PM
Noah from Oakland, CA

When I was little, I had terrifying fever dreams which were entirely musical -- they didn't have any visual element -- and they were exacly like what Leo describes. A song would start out normally, but then it would speed up to a frantic dizzying pace or slow down and down and down. It's impossible to describe how awful this was. I'm so glad I don't have these dreams anymore (though maybe if I had a bad enough fever, they would reappear).

Mar. 06 2008 04:04 PM

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