Hearing Phantom Instruments
So I've got a quick question, does anyone else hear phantom instruments? I.E. Instruments not being played.
There are times when I'm playing in a band and I can hear instruments such as a cello, or when listening to amazing drummers I've heard what sounds like a choir.
I've searched online but couldn't find any specific term for this, so I just wanted to see if anyone else had this experience. Perhaps it is just the artist in me really wishing I was hearing that instrument at that time. I don't know.
Share stories or thoughts?
How did you get out of your nice white jacket? ;)
When I'm playing alone I like to imagine other instruments playing, sometimes even a whole band, but it doesn't happen automatically. Just when I want it too. Honestly I find it nice!
I also do it when I forget my headphones at home. I listen entire songs in my head.
It's different, but not unrelated.
I'd also like to know if this is a known condition.
Consciously imagining other parts is one thing, but there's also the effect that subharmonics and overtones can create at times; that they sound like a cello or what have you might just be your brain filling in the gaps.
I have heard phantom instruments or, possibly more precisely, phantom melodies, harmonies etc since I was a kid.
I remember often listing to music with my friends and I'd hum or sing parts of what I heard. Their response was "that's not how the song goes". However, what I was humming/singing fit the song.
Personally I like it and use it as inspiration when trying to figure out parts for writing original music in a band setting. I'll record the guitarists part(s) or have them play it over and over until I "hear" the "phantom" part. I'll use this as a basis for what I'm going to write, as I believe it is what most naturally fits the song, for me.
I agree with GKon I have done the exact same thing since I was a kid also and it happens the most when I'm listening to the Beatles I've written many songs based on Ghost Melodies I keep a recorder close by always because sometimes I get multiple Ghost melodies from the same song. I say we start a club :)
Thatīs normal, when the harmonic content of each instrument gets together, can result in a phantom instrument. Normally sounds like a cello.
And also, please stop taking anything that you are taking....
I have had audience members come up and ask if we have horn or keyboards, etc. tracked since they heard those instruments while we play. We are a 3 piece bass, guitar, and drums with all of us singing and nothing else ever.
You are not alone. I have it fairly often during rehearsals, especially whilst writing new material. When I hear an instrument that's not there, I take it as a sign that I should probably put it there. When people say the song wrote itself, this is what I imagine they mean.
So apparently this has a name to it!
Non-psychiatric auditory hallucinations. Or Musical Ear Syndrome.
People with the syndrome swear they hear music, some of those people even being deaf.
I can't imagine any of us have the syndrome, that the sounds are just our minds being creative or filling voids. It seems a bit far-fetched to say we're all hallucinating.
Read about it at :
Thanks for the replys
Well that's inspiring. I feel like its probably my brain trying to make sense of the under and overtone information and it fills it in with "other instruments.
I too have used for inspiration, and while I don't like the term "hallucination" i suppose that is what is happening, just triggered by the sounds I hear when playing/listening to good musicans.
The other thing, that I just noticed while thinking back on this experience, is that I also never experience when listening to recorded music, but only live music/musicians. Which further leads me down the overtone path that doesn't come across from a recording.
Isn't life amazing?!
Often when listening to some acoustic guitar duo recordings, I swear I can hear some synth pads or a cello droning in a few spots. But when I watch a video of them playing the song in the studio, they aren't using anything other than their guitars and a mic.
I always thought that it was some "studio magic" done in protools or something, but I guess it's possible that I'm hearing the frequencies making a 3rd instrument. It is two acoustic guitars playing full chords and picking, so it's definitely plausible.
I've done something similar....
Sometimes I'll go to a dance and they play something and I fill in some lead guitar parts in my head etc.etc.
Or if I'm driving in my vehicle and listening to the radio I'll
add whatever I think makes the cut sound better.....maybe bass or piano or whatever......
But this is me doing it deliberately........
I've never had where I heard other instruments "out of the blue" while listening.....
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