Dan Kruse
Dan Kruse

“Master of the house, quick to catch your eye,/ Never wants a passerby to pass him by.” George Costanza can’t get that tune out of his head in an old “Seinfeld” episode. This is called an “earworm,” from the German, “ohrwurm,” or in academic parlance, an “involuntary musical image” (INMI).

Returning to the Arizona Senior Academy next Thursday (May 29 at 11:30 AM) for the fifth time in the last two years is Dan Kruse to tell us all about ear worms.  You may remember his previous appearances on the history of rock and roll; the story of “Zoom,” a Tucson recording studio; all about snare drums; and the important questions in ethnomusicology.

Since arriving in Tucson in 1997, Kruse has enjoyed a career in music and media, performing, touring and recording with a variety of ensembles, and more recently completing an interdisciplinary Master of Ethnomusicology at the UA, focusing on the production of documentary media on musical culture and history.

In next Thursday’s presentation, Kruse will explore the phenomenon of musical memory, why many people have the ability to record tunes in their brain’s long-term memory, and what stimuli evoke the sensation of “hearing” these tunes in their heads, sometimes in the form of an almost endless tapeloop.

The audience may be asked to participate by relating their experiences of earworms.

Kruse recently won a grant from the UA Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry to scientifically study INMI in collaboration with Donald Traut, professor of music theory, and Andrew Lotto, professor of cognitive science in the UA’s Speech/Language and Hearing Department.

Submitted by Fritz Reinagel, Academy Village Volunteer

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Got a Tune Stuck in Your Head? Learn Why: May 2014
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