{16/01/2013}   Name That Tune

I have a friend who, on hearing any song commence, will enthusiastically shout out, “Name that tune!”.  There is a time and a place for such a game but it drives me mad that I usually know straight away whether or not I know the song, but often can’t name it until it’s already been guessed correctly or the chorus is upon me.  This game often serves to remind me that I don’t know the lyrics to most songs, even ones I often listen to.  So I wonder how some people are so good at Name That Tune.

I know a few people who have a staggeringly good knowledge of music and they all seem to have a good grasp of lyrics.  I was talking to a singer friend once about how I know the tunes of favourite songs well but can’t remember the lyrics.  She said she remembers the lyrics along with the tune, that the lyrics and tunes go hand in hand.  I think that is how a song should be but it, infuriatingly, does not work like that for me.

So how come some people are so incredibly good at Name That Tune?  I fully concede that an awful lot of peole have a far wider knowledge of music than me so it’s no surprise such people should guess first, but how can they do it a few notes in, often before the lyrics start?  Sure, I can guess a few songs at the first note or two but only ones with really, really distinctive tunes or whatever (I’m sure there is some technical explanation for this!).

I am sure that if I could remember the lyrics, I could fast forward the song in my head and be in with a chance of guessing.  I don’t, however, think that this is an issue with my rubbish memory; I’ve never been good at naming songs, let alone artists, and certainly not at knowing lyrics.  Mind you, when I used to get the odd Smash Hits I did used to study lyrics and get a bit more involved!  This is probably why I am always amazed by lyrics when singing at karaoke.  Admittedly, the English is sometimes questionable but I am often surprised at reading the lyrics for I am one to sing something, anything, to go with the tune and seeing lyrics on screen is a harsh reminder that that is not what I’d been singing on last hearing that song on the radio, in my car, etc!

As for people who excel at Name That Tune, hats off to you, I am impressed.  It is for that reason I sometimes dabble in Spotify, with a view to one day making playlists and appreciating songs I like more, ie listening to the songs to get the lyrics.  It doesn’t have to be Spotify but I find it fascinating that you can listen to random people’s playlists and hear so, so many songs.


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