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Keep listening to a song on loop? Here’s what your favourite music does to you

A new study explains how listeners develop a “deep connection” with some of their favourite songs, and what are the most important features in music.

more lifestyle Updated: Feb 17, 2018 12:28 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Listeners can form a deep connection to the song particularly if they have mixed emotions, such as “bittersweet” while listening.(Shutterstock)

If you have played your favourite Kishore Kumar song or Beatles classic umpteen times, but do not know why you forget to press the stop button for some numbers, new research offers some clues. Listeners often engage and develop a “deep connection” with some of their favourite songs, said the study published in the journal Psychology of Music.

The study involved more than 200 participants who completed an online questionnaire about their experience listening to their favourite song, including how it made them feel and the frequency with which they played the song. The participants reported listening to their favourite song hundreds of times.

The mean among the sample was more than 300 times and this number was even larger for listeners who had a deep connection to the song — something that was particularly likely if they had mixed emotions, such as “bittersweet” while listening.

Certain features of the song were particularly important reasons why respondents listened many times, said Jason Corey, Associate Professor of Music at the University of Michigan in the US and a co-author of the study. The most important features were the song’s melody, beat/rhythm and lyrics, the study found. For songs that made listeners happy, beat/rhythm was especially important for re-listening. Finally, the more times people listened to their favourite song, the more the listeners could hear it internally, the researchers said.

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First Published: Feb 17, 2018 12:27 IST