Audio illusions

Last Sunday I took part in a carol concert, both singing in the Bangor Community Choir, and singing with everybody else as part of the audience / congregation. The chapel where this took place is a bilingual one where people are encouraged to sing in Welsh or English – words for both are projected on the front wall. I think roughly half of those there sang in Welsh and the other half in English. I sang mostly in Welsh, and found that when doing so, I could hear the other people singing in Welsh around me and could hardly hear those singing in English. The opposite was true when I sang in English – I could hear the other people singing in English, but couldn’t hear the Welsh singing nearly as clearly. Occasionally I stopped singing for a little while and could hear both languages, though if I concentrated on one, the other wasn’t as clear.

It was a bit like one of those pictures which look like one thing if you look at them in a certain way, and like something else if you look at them differently. With those it’s almost impossible to see both versions at the same time. When I was singing I could hear both languages being sung around me if I concentrated on doing so, but the one I was singing in was much more noticeable and easier to hear.

Have you had any similar experiences?

One thought on “Audio illusions

  1. I’ve never had that happen, but it sounds like a really fascinating psychological phenomenon that I’d like to learn more about, though.

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