Is there a formula behind good music

This is how catchy tunes work - and this is how you get rid of them

Status: 08/25/2020 4:12 p.m. | Author: Dhala Rosado

"Live is life ... Na Naaa Nana Na" ... Bet you just sang along automatically while reading? Then you are now most likely a catchy tune victim and should urgently read this article to the end. We explain to you what exactly a catchy tune is, how it is created and how you can best get rid of it.

They come out of nowhere and, in the worst case, can stay in your head for up to three weeks: catchy tunes. In English it is called "sticky song"(sticky song) and neurologists call the phenomenon"involuntary musical imagery ", that is, musical images that arise unintentionally. Experts assume that our ancestors also had to endure catchy tunes.

The catchy tune comes when it wants

Jan Hemming, director of the Institute for Music at the University of Kassel, explained to WDR: It cannot be influenced rationally. That means: The nasty little continuous loops are buried in the convolutions of your brain when you have an emotional connection to the song - whether positive or negative.


The catchy tune prefers tired and relaxed victims

When you are tired or relaxed, your brain is most receptive to ohworms. There's even something good about that: They keep your brains awake. In addition, the more often you've listened to a song the more likely you will get a catchy tune - it tends to occur when you listen to a song for the seventh or eighth time.


Earwigs have a clear prey scheme

Women, professional musicians and introverts are popular catchy victims. At least that's what catchy tune expert Eckart Altenm├╝ller, director of the Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine at the Hanover University of Music, says. In an experiment with hundreds of people, he found out: People who have strong feelings when listening to music are particularly affected.


The catchy formula

There are no instructions for the perfect earwrap. But musicologists have found out which songs have a catchy tune. The important thing is: the song has to be simple and should have many repetitions. The easier it is for the melody or the text to nestle down. Surprises such as unusual jumps in sound or rhythmic stumbling blocks are also burned in. Researchers at Durham University in the UK found some of the most memorable songs in a survey of 3,000 people - including "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga, "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" by Kylie Minogue and "Don't Stop." Believing "from Journey.


The brain makes music for itself

Earwigs usually attack their target persons so suddenly that those affected do not even know in retrospect where they got it from. You pick them up while shopping, driving or eating. A few bars or lines are enough that are burned in over the long term. And then an exciting effect sets in: In the brain there is a singing center and acoustic memory. If a song snippet flies in the ear, one half of the brain begins to sing something to the other. Their reaction encourages them to continue singing and so on. The result: a musical loop in your head.


The subconscious hates the unfinished

The human subconscious tends to want to end interrupted thoughts or unfinished tasks. Before that, she cannot check it off as done. This is called the Zeigarnik effect. The sudden musical feedback falls into the same category. The brain didn't finish the song and that is insane.


Possible solutions

There are plenty of tips and clever advice. A tip: find a counter-earwig. Another recommendation: focus on something else. But be careful: If the new task is too simple, your thoughts drift away. You have to find the right balance between too easy and too difficult - if the new task is too complicated, your thoughts drift away as well. Experts recommend Sudoku, for example - you can calm down and your head is busy.


The solution

Seriously, if it's really because your brain is desperately trying to finish the song, then the solution is obvious. Hear the nasty piece through from start to finish. Then there should be silence.


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This topic in the program:

N-JOY | The N-JOY afternoon with Nina and Haacke | 06/19/2017 | 4:20 pm