What effect does a ticking clock have on you? The clocks that tick are becoming fewer with the use of non-mechanical time pieces. The tall case clock (grandfather or grandmother in America) and the windup alarm clock are the old standby that imbue nostalgia and will not go away. To many the sound of a clock ticking has a soothing effect; of course there are some that do not agree. When you bring a new puppy home and it suffers from being separated from the mother it is common practice to put a hot water bottle and a ticking clock in with the puppy to sooth it. The clock sounds like the mothers heartbeat; it also works with humans. Often a pendulum clock ticks once a second; the human heart beats typically between 60 and 80 seconds a minute, so it is similar to the human heart beat and creates a soothing effect. The ticking of the clock effectively works to sooth a baby as it did with a puppy. Neither my wife nor I ever put a clock in with any of our children, but the theory is a compelling argument and justifies having a ticking clock in the child’s bedroom.
The ticking clock is used in movies during suspense scenes to heighten or drive the suspense. The ticking can create a feeling of impending doom or certain events in murder mysteries. It is used to make time pass in a scene or signaling the end is coming. The song Doomsday Clock represents this. You can download a ticking clock to your internet message to create an effect.
Ticking has been the subject of numerous popular songs. Leroy Anderson made a big hit with his Syncopated Clock. It is the story of a clock that went tock, tick, tock instead of tick, tock tick. Other performers have made recordings of it also. It was popular when I was younger and many high school bands hollowed out a block of wood to create the tick tock effect when they played the song. Then we can get the Brazilian touch with the song Tico Tico Tock that Carman Miranda made so famous. Back in 1876 Henry Clay wrote the song Grandfather's Clock which has been used over the years. (you can read about this song is a previous post on my blog)
So why do we feel a connection to a ticking clock? Simply, it is soothing to the soul as the ticking reflects our own heartbeat and the nostalgia of hearing and seeing clocks in our youth and in movies serves as a cherished memory.