As composers we sometimes imagine a whole song with drums, bass, guitar, keys and vocal melodies in our head, but usually in the process of composing we sometimes lose what we were thinking.

Is there any new technology or something being developed or studied on how to record the song we're composing in our head?

I wanted just a name or a link, or news or whatever. I believe this is a topic that would interest many of the music composers, as we know sometimes the melody that you came up in a dream or at the bath almost never comes out the same singing or playing.

I've been looking for this on the internet, but I always get the wrong answers like "How to get a tune out of your head", which is completely the opposite of what I want. I also found an article on how scientits recorded a musical hallucination, which is not actually the case of a new music being composed (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-scientists-recorded-one-womans-hallucinated-music-180949357/).

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    Not any time soon. Current technology struggles with reading imagined mouse movements from the brain waves for disabled people. Reading a multitrack song with different instruments is extremely difficult and currently impossible. There might be attempts at reading a single pitch. Feb 14, 2017 at 13:48
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    You can't do an analog recording of the brain since your only access (currently) is through electrodes. I believe Hawking uses the computer by eye movement or whatever minute motoric function his finger still has, there is nothing reading his brain waves. Feb 14, 2017 at 14:02
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    This might be more suitable for Biology. Feb 14, 2017 at 14:03
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    @user1803551 Analog recordings of the output of electrodes detecting brain waves are made all the time - EEGs are one example. Feb 14, 2017 at 14:38
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    This presumes that there actually is a complete song playing in our heads. I've had the experience too, but I suspect that it's an illusion to some degree, and that part of the reason it seems to evaporate when you try to get it down is that the details weren't all there in the first place even if you believed they were. Feb 14, 2017 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


From Joshua Foer's "Moonwalking with Einstein" when explaining the Memory Palace technique:

"...all one has to do is convert something unmemorable... ...into a series of engrossing visual images and mentally arrange them within an imagined space, and suddenly those forgettable items become unforgettable."

I am not sure if this had ever been applied to music composition but it certainly could. It is based on the amazing human potential for spatial memory (and the amazing human potential to forget everything else). Unfortunately it does not get simpler than that. I would suggest you to read memory retention literature and try different techniques.

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    Thank you, @Alexis, that's a good answer :) I do use some of those, like drawing and coloring some structures, recording melodies, rhythms, and finnaly I write the scores at a software. My question is just a curiosity about technologies that can do this automatically. But your answer is a great content for community :) Feb 16, 2017 at 19:23
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    Sorry, I interpreted technology as a set of techniques... and I have to admit those techniques are not new (so... failed twice)... but I am glad you liked my answer.
    – Alexis
    Feb 16, 2017 at 21:28
  • haha, no problem at all! Every positive answer sums up for the community :) Thank you for answering Feb 17, 2017 at 19:49
  • Diana Deutsch's 1981 article "The Internal Representation of Pitch Sequences in Tonal Music" may be of interest. For further exploration, Google Scholar lists 504 citations of that paper as of this comment.
    – Aaron
    Jan 6, 2021 at 8:15

I am somewhat skeptical this makes any sense. I am a pretty good programmer and mathematician, and there have been nights I spent mostly half-awake thinking about some ingenious idea and when I finally was awake enough to write it down, it was an obvious load of bull. Granted, I managed one time to fall awake knowing the location of a bug I had been hunting for the whole day.

Now once I did have a wonderful theme and fully harmonious counterparts in my head in half-sleep and wanted to write it down when falling awake. Unfortunately, the stuff did not harmonize at all: the joy in the harmonically perfect parts was about as solid as the joy of finally having figured out in your sleep how to fly and trying to write it down when awake.

So from various half-wake experiences both involving music as well as my more prominent areas of expertise, I strongly suspect that by far most of the stuff you would try recording would be incoherent and laughable without this being the fault of the recording equipment.

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