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Modern Mysteries

Speech-to-song audio illusion hits the Web

June 10, 2018 | Comment icon 10 comments

Why do repeated words end up sounding like song lyrics ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Evette
Scientists have been investigating why words repeatedly spoken out loud sound like they are being sung.
Hot on the tail of the infamous 'Laurel or Yanny' audio illusion, researchers at the University of Kansas have created an intriguing example of what is commonly known as the speech-to-song illusion.

To begin with, four words are spoken, one after the other:

When the words are continuously repeated however, they sound like the lyrics of a song:

The key to this illusion, scientists believe, lies in how we interpret language as words and syllables.

When we hear the words repeated over and over, we pay less attention to their meaning and more to how they sound. Eventually, all we can hear is the beat of the syllables, as if it were a piece of music.

Source: The Verge | Comments (10)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Susanc241 4 years ago
Well, the repeated version never broke into song for me!
Comment icon #2 Posted by dlh 4 years ago
I agree with Susanc241.  I just hear the same four words repeated.  No sense of a tune at all.
Comment icon #3 Posted by bigjim36 4 years ago
Same here, no difference at all.
Comment icon #4 Posted by StarMountainKid 4 years ago
If the speaker would have spoken the words flowing together it would have sounded more like a song.
Comment icon #5 Posted by fred_mc 4 years ago
I agree with the previous comments. I don't hear any song either, just 4 words repeated over and over again.
Comment icon #6 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
Yeah, same here. No difference to me.
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
Perhaps they should have tried these words instead... "Yanni, Laurel, Laurel, Yanni..."
Comment icon #8 Posted by kapow53 4 years ago
Not at all
Comment icon #9 Posted by carolinacottontail 4 years ago
I didn't hear the syllables more than the words, after repeating. I'm not convinced that there is any kind of phenomenon here!
Comment icon #10 Posted by Vox 4 years ago
You guys are obviously immune to musical genius that is Daft Punk...

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