Carmina Buraneidolia

By Phil Plait | February 20, 2009 3:01 pm

Musical video Friday continues!

I love audio pareidolia: listening to something and hearing words and patterns in it that aren’t really there. I’ve posted about it before.

I also love "Carmina Burana" by Karl Orff. So this video left me literally laughing so hard I was crying.

Tip o’ the baton to Amanda.


Comments (64)

  1. Dustin

    This is a good one, but I don’t think anything can top

  2. Egaeus

    I kept it together, right up to the octopus. I’m glad it’s after 5.

  3. Al

    An aural pareidolia is also known as a Mondegreen as coined by Sylvia Wright.

    Another article

  4. Saucy codpiece. Is there a funnier word combination?

  5. Mike

    I’m sure PZ will expect royalties for his cameo…

  6. I could have done without the mental picture I got from “suck juice from moose”, though. (shudder)

  7. HEY! If I had my own theme music, this would be it! I can’t wait to check this out when I get back to the compound!

  8. Nigel Depledge

    Meh … somw of that was pretty good, but some bits were way too contrived.

    I guess it doesn’t help if you know and enjoy the actual lyrics to some extent.

    Egestatem / Potestatem / Dissolvit ut glaciem

    Poverty, power, melts like ice (although, obviously, the exact words depend on the translator).

  9. Joe Meils

    Ah, you say Car-ME-na, I say CAR-meh-nah… let’s Karl the whole thing Orff…

  10. defectiverobot

    Luckily, there’s a bathroom on the right…

  11. That is excellent! Watch out for the salsa cookies and the windmill cookies!

  12. Zorak

    That was great, but I think the undisputed master in this genre is still “My Loony Bun is Fine Benny Lava” (I don’t know if embedding a link will work, so just go to YouTube and do a search on that title…)

  13. Off Topic:

    Dawn aircraft write up. I know, I know, it’s a competitor’s mag, but this is really a fun thing. Orbiting 2 different bodies. ION Drive (does it have twin engines?). Longer Mission than the orginal Enterprise. This story has it all!

  14. Sundance


    The link for ‘Benny Lava’ is
    BUT be warned that some people would consider some of the misheard lyrics to be unsuitable for children.

    Of course, knowing how much Phil loves Dr Who, you can’t really go past the misheard “Carameldansen” lyrics :-)

  15. Bramblyspam

    Reminds me of Indian Thriller. Girly Man!

    Or that doll that allegedly said “Islam is the light” and “Satan is king”.

  16. Sili

    Whatever Latin I had have atrophied to much.

    Still – it sounds clearer than the English hymn.

  17. So, I’m guessing you haven’t seen Benny Lava… click on my name to get the link to it.

  18. Thanks for the giggles. Some were a bit more than giggles. :-)

  19. I still love the YTMND in my name link. Star Wars Episode I’s Duel of the Fates has forever been ruined for me because this is all I hear now. And yet it’s hilarious.

  20. Steve Ulven

    I love the alternate lyrics YouTube videos. I think one of the best ones, if any metalheads in here listen to Pantera, the ******* Hostile alternate ******* Hoffstyle is pure genius. Sorry, couldn’t state the full title in respect to keeping this blog family friendly.

  21. JSW

    I kept it together, right up to the octopus.

    I couldn’t keep quiet past “some men like cheese.”

  22. You like audio pareidolia? I sent you one not too long ago about a woman who thinks her daughter’s Nintendo DS game says “Islam is the Light”, even though it’s gibberish. Click on my name for link.

  23. Logan

    I giggled until I teared up.

  24. LS

    As a singer — and one who’s done Carmina — I have some issues with this group’s enunciation, or lack thereof. But as for misheard lyrics, I can only say: BWAHAHAHA!!! That’s great!

  25. I guess you haven’t seen Obama’s Elf. Check linked name above.

  26. Thanks Christopher, I almost wet myself.

  27. I also can’t believe the credulous reporting of the “Islam is the light” thing.

  28. Mark Hansen

    Reminds me of the Carlton Draught Big Ad that was run here in Oz.

  29. Stu

    I can’t seem to find a valid copy of it anymore, but I think the best one is still the re-edit of what Joe Cocker is actually singing when he sings “With A Little Help From My Friends” at Woodstock. It seems like it’s been taken down off of YouTube because it’s kinda sorta a copyright violation.

  30. I guess it doesn’t help if you know and enjoy the actual lyrics to some extent.

    I don’t know, according to my wife, who still knows the real lyrics from performing it in a choir, it’s actually funnier that way! She says it’s all the things that you remember thinking it sounded like while singing it.

  31. Though Benny Lava is a modern classic in its own right, We Drink Ritalin (found on newgrounds or albinoblacksheep) is both considerably older and a more impressive effort, going so far as re-recording the song in English with the reinterpreted lyrics and putting the whole thing to Flash animation.

  32. Actually, re-listening to We Drink Ritalin, I’m not even sure that that’s been re-dubbed. It still tracks if you read the original lyrics side-by-side with the audio.

    For the entertainment value of anyone who cares, here’s a summary from

    “The song, Hot Limit by John Desire, is, strictly speaking, in English. However, anyone need not listen to more than a stanza before noticing that it is utterly incomprehensible. John Desire is an Italian group, but the song sounds like the singer was trying too hard to sound American. The result could be called gibberish. ”

    I think it’s been said elsewhere that the singer doesn’t speak English at all and was actually singing it phonetically.

  33. Phil, I’ve just discovered something quite appalling.

    If you listen to George Hrab’s “Far” played backwards, where he says “my words might drive you all insane“, it comes out as, “Yes, we’re all going to die. Farewell!“. Moreover, where he says “precision is your middle name“, it comes out as, “Myeah, well it always finishes soon.

    My question is this. Should we start panicking straight away, or wait until the song finishes?

    (P.S. Feel free to answer the earliest astronomical memory question on my blog, if you want to.)

  34. Gazz

    Brilliant! How about this for a pareidoliac sonic palindrome, this phrase ‘your house is on fire’ sounds almost the same whether it’s played forwards or backwards:

  35. Thanks. Now I’ll get weird looks in the theater every time I start cracking up during a horror movie trailer.

  36. Menyambal

    Truth behind real flying saucers — revealed! On MSNBC’s Tech and science area, an article about the book “The Saucer Fleet” (Apogee Books, 2008).

    On the cover image, “Foreword by ‘The Bad Astronomer’ Dr. Phil Plait”.


  37. Betsy

    You stinker! This is one of my favorite pieces, I listen to it often while reading blogs—do you KNOW what you have DONE to me???????????

  38. Aaran

    audio pareidolia? I think i heard it called Mondegreens (Check this link) (

    Very funny and its great that it has its own strange story about the name!!

    Crazy :)

  39. There are a group of guys that used to go to Passenger Information desks at various British Airports and ask them to page passengers with made up foreign sounding names. The result was hilarious as it went out over the PA. I think they eventually got banned from some of these airports.

  40. Naomi

    I LOOOVE CARMINA BURANA. And can sing it in Latin, so yes, this does make it ever more hilarious XD

    “Salsa cookies! Windmill cookies! They’ll give you goooon-oorrr-heaaa!” made me laugh so hard I nearly inhaled my drink.

  41. Naomi

    Also: Carl Orff, not Karl.

  42. Kyle

    I’m not sure I can ever go to another concert with that piece in it without laughing. I will probably always hear “suck moose juice” and the cookies giving you gonorrhea. Thanks!

  43. Colin


    I have been a long time lurker on many blogs. This is my first post on any of them.

    I actually was listening to this song when I read this post on iTunes. I have not laughed so hard in a long time.

    Thanks for that.

  44. Colin

    OK . That is why I don’t post.

    I mean I was listening to Carmina Burana while I was reading this post. Not reading this post on iTunes. Hurk.

  45. Niilo

    May I also submit this classic of the genre;

    “Wishmaster” by overblown Finnish goth operatic rockers Nightwish

  46. k9_kaos

    Pretty funny stuff. It reminds me of Enigma’s song Sadness Part 1, where in the opening seconds it sounds very much like someone is singing “We nominate whiskey, Amen”.

  47. Bring this window up while listening (but not watching) the original video:

    And switch between windows, and you’ll “hear” the lyrics you’re looking at, even if switching mid-stream.

    And I have to agree on the mental picture that “suck juice from moose” can conjure. Hilarious and frightening at the same time. :-)

  48. Oh, and let’s not forget the classic “Mairzy Doats”:

    Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?

  49. Olorin

    This species of preidolia is also called a “mondegreen.” It’s now in dictionaries, but it was coined as a result of mishearing a 17thC ballad “The Bonnie Earl O’ Murray.”

    “They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
    And laid him on the green”


    “They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
    And Lady Mondegreen.”

  50. Re: “this species of preidolia is also called a mondegreen“, it is my understanding that a mondegreen is by definition accidental, referring to cases where lyrics are honestly misheard and confusion results. It does not include cases where lyrics are deliberately misrepresented for comic effect ( mondegreens may be collected for comic purposes, but must have originally been genuine mistakes). I may be wrong about this.

  51. DLC

    what do you mean windmill cookies cause . . . eeeww. . .

    and let’s not forget — “My Body lies over the Ocean ”
    We used to sing that in 2nd grade music class. Does second grade even have music class anymore ?

  52. Sgt Skepper

    HA! That’s fecking brilliant!!! I particularly enjoyed “Vimto can taste of kidneys”.

  53. Wendy

    “Some men like cheese” LMAO!!!

  54. Buzz Parsec

    DLC – you mean “My Boonie lye soda devotion, Ma Birney lifesaver DC?” by Walt Kelly? Or my favorite Christmas carol, “Bless us all with Boston Charlie, Walla Walla, Wash. and Kalamazoo! Nora’s freezing on the trolley, swallow dollar cauliflower alligaroo!”

    Pogo was way ahead of its time.

  55. Video doesn’t work so here’s the original:

    I’m also fond of and

  56. Brian Too

    The Archive of Misheard Song Lyrics:


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar