Ep 339: What Makes a Song Appealing?

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What Makes a Song Appealing?

Music researchers analyzed over 700 top Billboard songs (which included examining over 80,000 chords) and they determined that the “Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da” is the most appealing song ever written. How in the world, you might ask, did they choose that (some would say annoying) song?! Let’s find out how two key ingredients – surprise and uncertainty – combine to create songs that you really like to hear over and over.

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2 Comments on “Ep 339: What Makes a Song Appealing?”

  1. This case study is very interesting for me. Me personally, I have played the piano for about 11 years in total and about to do my grade 8 exam later on, I have enjoyed this podcast on how music can make a song appealing to one’s ear. When there is a song for example ‘happy birthday’ people will expect it to have to same following tune however when you alter some notes in the song, it can become intriguing to find out more about the piece as that it will be similar to the original song but it will have differences that makes the song more enjoyable than just the standard. This is because it is ‘uncertain’ and has a ‘surprise’ to one’s ears as it is different and possibly better than the original. As to the new bill board songs, each song are very different to each other and some are even so called ‘unusual’ as that we as listeners will have not experienced a new period of music that they have turned from pop to something else; usually in the future, music periods always changes.

  2. Thanks for this episode! I found myself disagreeing with almost everything you said, so I think it did an excellent job of explaining why I haven’t voluntarily listened to a billboard 100 song in… ever? I’m a classically trained musician, and I listen to music like Thank You Scientist. It’s simultaneously abrasive and melodic, powerful and thoughtful. It’s clever and unexpected and technically impressive. It will never be broadly popular, because most people don’t understand it, but it is musically superior in every way I can identify to modern pop.

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