What makes music catchy?

Clearly there are many things people like about music. Someone might like the texture, lyrics, or sound of a song, or maybe the guitar work or singer’s voice.

But theres also a certain “catchiness” that some composers are best at producing and others arent. There are certain chord changes or progressions of notes that really energize you and pull you into a song, that make you want to listen to the song over and over again. You could have all the guitar-playing skill in the world, but if you can’t write a catchy tune not many people will listen to you.

Judging by how mathematical music is, I’m surprised they haven’t found some formula for how to do this. Obviously some people, like Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson for example, have found this formula consciously or subconsciously.

So has there been any speculation as to what really makes a catchy song? What makes a human being prefer one tune to another? Why are certain chord progressions more delightful to our ears than others?

No thoughts?

Try posting this in Cafe Society. It’s an interesting question.

You might find the answer in this book, just recently published. It’s on my short list for reading this month.

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession