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Он сегодня весь день не желает вылезать из комнаты. Играет что-то грустное на гитарке и поет. От его песни аж кошки на душе скребут.

When I see "на душе кошки скребут", I sort of automatically expect the prepositional phrase "у кого-н" to come with it. In this specific instance, however, there is only one prepositional phrase: "от его песни".

How should I interpret the meaning of this structure: "От его песни аж кошки на душе скребут"?

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    I would say, ellipsis strikes again: "от его песни [у меня] аж кошки на душе скребут". Oct 24, 2018 at 5:49
  • without specific indication i take it to refer to the speaker Oct 24, 2018 at 18:21

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It means the feeling of the speaker, so it can be rewritten as От его песни у меня аж кошки на душе скребут. Very often we omit a pronoun when we mean ourselves or it is clear from the context. compare:

He came with his wife. - Он пришел с женой.

I'll tell my husband. - Я скажу мужу.

My mother says, that... - Мама говорит, что...

Besides, it can denote a feeling which is generally produced on anybody who hears the song. That means, if you were present there, you would suffer that feeling as well. [У кого угодно, кто это слышит,] аж кошки на душе скребут.

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