Why ARE Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue’s hits more likely to stick in your mind?… – The Sun

Bad Romance by Lady Gaga and Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie they are perfect examples of addictive hits, with a fast tempo and catchy melody
CAN'T get you out of my head, boy this song is all I think about.
We've all been there – stuck humming along to the same song all day long, unable to eradicate the tune from your mind.
But, why do some songs stick, while others you can barely recall the lyrics to?
Experts say Bad Romance by Lady Gaga and Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie they are perfect examples of addictive hits, with a fast tempo and catchy melody.
But they also have distinctive intervals, such as leaps or repetitions, which set them apart from the “average pop song”.
Other tunes that leave people singing along for hours after they have stopped listening include Don'T Stop Believing by Journey and Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye.
These musically sticky songs seem to have quite a fast tempo along with a common melodic shape and unusual intervals or repetitions
Dr Kelly Jakubowski from Durham University, said songs that get stuck in your head – known as earworms – are usually faster, with an easy-to-remember melody.
But, they also feature some unique leaps and intervals that set them apart from the average chart topper.
Despite knowing the songs that stick, there has been little research into what actually makes a tune catchy.
Dr Jakubowski said: "Our findings show that you can to some extent predict which songs are going to get stuck in people's heads based on the song's melodic content.
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Can't Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue
Don't Stop Believing – Journey
Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye
Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
California Gurls – Katy Perry
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Alejandro – Lady Gaga
Poker Face – Lady Gaga
"This could help aspiring song-writers or advertisers write a jingle everyone will remember for days or months afterwards.
"These musically sticky songs seem to have quite a fast tempo along with a common melodic shape and unusual intervals or repetitions like we can hear in the opening riff of Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple or in the chorus of Bad Romance by Lady Gaga."
Nine in ten of us get a song stuck in our heads playing on an endless loop at least once a week.
It normally happens at times when the brain is not doing much such as in the shower, whilst walking or doing chores.
The researchers asked 3,000 people to name the songs most likely to replay over and over in their heads.
And they compared these to tunes which had never been named as earworms, but matched the popularity and how recently they had been in the charts.
The melodic features of the earworm and non-earworm tunes were then analysed and compared.
They found tunes most likely to get stuck in people's heads were those with more common global melodic contours.
This means they have very typical overall melodic shapes commonly found in pop music.
An example of one of the most common contour patterns in Western music is that heard in Twinkle Twinkle Little Star where the first phrase rises in pitch and the second falls.
The opening riff of Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5, one of the top-named earworm tunes in the study, also follows this common contour pattern of rising then falling in pitch.
Dr Jakubowski added: "We already know that recent and frequent exposure to a song makes it more likely to get stuck in your head and people who sing and listen to music a lot tend to get earworms more often than others.
"We now also know that, regardless of the chart success of a song, there are certain features of the melody that make it more prone to getting stuck in people's heads like some sort of private musical screensaver."
The study is published in the academic journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts.
 
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