In Earworm and Event: Music, Daydreams, and Other Imaginary Refrains (Duke UP, 2022) Eldritch Priest questions the nature of the imagination in contemporary culture through the phenomenon of the earworm: those reveries that hijack our attention, the shivers that run down our spines, and the songs that stick in our heads. Through a series of meditations on music, animal mentality, abstraction, and metaphor, Priest uses the earworm and the states of daydreaming, mind-wandering, and delusion it can produce to outline how music is something that is felt as thought rather than listened to. Priest presents Earworm and Event as a tête-bêche—two books bound together with each end meeting in the middle. Where Earworm theorizes the entanglement of thought and feeling, Event performs it. Throughout, Priest conceptualizes the earworm as an event that offers insight into not only the way human brains process musical experiences, but how abstractions and the imagination play key roles in the composition and expression of our contemporary social environments and more-than-human milieus. Unconventional and ambitious, Earworm and Event offers new ways to interrogate the convergence of thought, sound, and affect.
Nathan Smith is a PhD Student in Music Theory at Yale University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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