Whispery vocals? Brushes on snares?

April 3, 2013 7:29 PM

Another future challenge idea: ASMR trigger song

Hello all-- I'm gearing up to come out of hibernation and start posting songs again.

In the meantime, I have a future song challenge idea that came to mind after listening to a This American Life episode: what about attempting to write a song that triggers the mysterious brain tingles called ASMRs? Whispers, crinkled bags, folding napkins and handling jewelry seem to work for a lot of people. Shouldn't it be possible to musicalize this phenomenon somehow?

posted by umbĂș (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Getting the shivers during a song is quite a common phenomenon, but like ASMR, it seems to vary from person to person.

I agree that it would be very interesting to try and nail down a chord sequence or whatnot that would guaranteed trigger it every time in every listener.
posted by Lizard at 1:05 AM on April 4, 2013

I have this in a major way, and I've wondered about the music aspect of it.
For me it's mostly a speaking-voice thing, and very much a context thing of someone paying attention to you. I suppose it could work with music as a subtle backdrop, but a proper "song" of the traditional, popular variety wouldn't do it for me, I'm pretty sure. Perhaps a sound collage or something like that would be effective.
posted by chococat at 8:38 AM on April 4, 2013

I'm about to make a really embarrassing confession. Really embarrassing.

Every single Ke$ha song makes my scalp tingle when the hook hits. Almost without exception. Other music, too, mostly stuff to which I have emotional attachment, but Ke$ha does it to me without that. It's disturbing.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:28 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

That IS disturbing.
Not that I'm judging.
posted by chococat at 9:41 AM on April 4, 2013

I have no idea what you people are talking about and frankly it is beginning to scare me a little bit.
posted by unSane at 5:34 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I get it with certain Aretha Franklin moments.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:41 PM on April 5, 2013

I'm a bit with unSane on this - not sure I really get the ASMR tag (sounds like something used to detect submarines..). But I think it's that feeling I'm always trying to create/recapture/whatever in my writing/recording - I've hardly ever done it. But trying to get to that is what keeps me going - definitely the triumph of hope over experience but what the hell. Last thing that did it for me was, perhaps rather implausibly, this by the late lamented Andrew Gold. Particularly around the 1.55 mark. Deeply uncool maybe, but I don't give a flying one - I greatly respected and admired Andrew as a songwriter and would have killed to be handling guitar duties in this band. What a terrific song and a great sound - crank it up!! RIP AG
posted by Hoops McCann at 9:55 AM on April 7, 2013

I get ASMR a lot and it was so surreal and great to find other people with the same feeling on Metafilter when it got posted like a year ago. As far as hearing it in music, it has definitely happened for me before. I think for me it mostly has to due with, like in those effective but kinda creepy youtube videos, a soothing voice that is clear, as in you can hear saliva slapping or whatever that sound is (I imagine that must be a VERY compelling description for all of you who don't have ASMR). I also suspect shifts in the channels could cause the effect, like a smooth, whispery voice (or the sound of someone rummaging delicately through a drawer or whatever) that is recorded close to the microphone coming in hard on one channel or something.

I also am really excited your back, umbu!
posted by Corduroy at 5:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, gonna be good to have you contributing again, umbĂș!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is it the same thing as what people describe as 'chills' when they hear a really great performance of a great song?

I attended the Music and the Brain Symposium at Stanford a couple of years ago and one of the topics was 'Chills and music'. The presenter described using fMRI to scan peoples brains when they listened to music that often gave them chills at a certain point in the track. It turns out that this feeling was correlated with a dopamine release in the brain.

What was also interesting was that the participants were allowed to choose their own music, and the most commonly selected piece was Barber's 'Adagio for Strings'. The third or fourth (not sure which) most common piece was a dance track that sampled the Barber piece.
posted by TwoWordReview at 4:50 PM on April 12, 2013

I don't have anything to add to this, really, except it's given me a very strong urge to listen to some Julee Cruise.
posted by Grangousier at 11:50 AM on April 23, 2013

You might find some of this stuff lurking in the interstices of Scott Walker's recent albums. They's scary.
posted by Grangousier at 11:51 AM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

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