Researchers at Goldsmiths University have been researching the mathematical and physical properties (i.e. sound waves) of songs to try to determine exactly what makes a song catchy.
In order to get the results, researchers observed thousands of volunteers singing a selected list of tracks.
We Are The Champions – Queen
A musicologist involved in the study, Dr. Daniel Mullensiefen, explains: “Every musical hit is reliant on maths, science, engineering and technology; from the physics and frequencies of sound that determine pitch and harmony, to the hi-tech digital processors and synthesizers, which can add effects to make a song more catchy.”
During the research phase, they discovered that sing-along songs contained four key elements: Long and detailed musical phrases, multiple pitch changes in a song’s ‘hook’, male vocalists, and higher male voices making a noticeable vocal effort.
Using this formula the scientists created a list of catchiest songs that also included “Y.M.C.A” by the Village People, Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” and Europe’s “The Final Countdown.”