Music Musts: The art of catchiness – By Jonathan Duguid

Music Musts: The art of catchiness – By Jonathan Duguid
By Jonathan Duguid

By Jonathan Duguid

A computational musicologist from the University of Amsterdam, who goes by the name of Dr. John Ashley Burgoyne, wanted to find out what makes a song stick in one’s memory. To help him out, he and his team set up an interactive online game, called Hooked On Music, which quizzed over 12000 participants on how quickly they could recognize a track.
The study is still in motion, so we can’t be sure just yet what the science is behind a song getting stuck in our heads, but we have some really cool info on the catchiest songs in the meantime. Can you believe it – at no.1 on the list, was the Spicegirls with ‘Wannabe’. Folks took an average of 2.3 seconds to recognise it. I’ve gotta say though, I think I would recognise it within half a second…but maybe that’s not something to really boast about. Other songs that featured in the top 10 included Lou Bega’s ‘Mambo No 5’, which was the second most recognizable track, clocking in at just 2.48 seconds. Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ came in at third place, being recognizable within an average of 2.62 seconds. Other artists featured in the top ten most recognisable, or catchy tunes, were Lady Gaga, Abba, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Roy Orbison, Aerosmith and the Human League.

It must be said though, judging from the top three, it would seem that one hit wonders are the tracks that we find most catchy – perhaps that’s why they made it big in an ocean of music in the first place. What is the catchiest song you know? Have you ever tested someone to see how quickly they can recognise a song?
I often do this to my friends and colleagues, just to make sure they’re up to date with the life and times of the music industry.

Now for my musical catches that you can …catch…this weekend:

• Natasha Meister is performing at The Rabbit Hole, Scher Street, Durbanville on Friday, November 7, at 8pm. For more info, call: 072 329 0869

• On Saturday, November 8, Francois van Coke will be jamming at The Sandstone Café and Lounge, 27 Main Road, Saldanha Bay (behind the West Water Building) in aide of Movember [for which I am growing a mo!]. Tickets are R75 per person, the gig starts at 7pm, and to book, or for more details, call: 022 714 1574.

• Then on Sunday, November 9, The Parlotones will be opening the first of the Quarry Summer Concert series at Hillcrest Wine Estate. It all starts at 1pm and tickets range from R100 to R190 each (available from Computicket). For more, call: 021 976 4959.

Twitter: @JonathanDuguid