8
$\begingroup$

I know about the common concept of a 'musical hook': a "short riff, passage, or phrase, that is used in popular music to make a song appealing and to 'catch the ear of the listener'."

The Wikipedia article mentions how it is studied in marketing research, and provides two links to websites of organizations which study the 'hook' ('Hooked on music' and 'Hooked!'). However, I am not interested in marketing research and the two websites linked to as 'scientific research', at a glance, do not provide any insight into the research they are conducting.

Is this concept studied within the field of psychology or neuroscience? Is there any domain-specific terminology used to refer to what makes music appealing or 'catch the ear of the listener'? I would like to start reading into this literature but currently do not know what to search for.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Looking into the term earworms lead me to the following answer.

If you search earworms into Google Scholar, at the top of the list is 3 papers, after which the rest seem to be about corn earworms. The papers are Beaman & Williams (2010) followed by Halpern & Bartlett (2011) which is then followed by Williamson, et al. (2012).

It was the last paper which lead me to the term Involuntary Musical Imagery and the paper was in Psychology of Music which lead me to the field of Music Psychology

or the psychology of music, [which] may be regarded as a branch of both psychology and musicology. It aims to explain and understand musical behavior and experience, including the processes through which music is perceived, created, responded to, and incorporated into everyday life (Tan, et al.2010; Thompson, 2015).

Searching Google Scholar for Involuntary Musical Imagery leads you to much more.

References

Beaman, C. P., & Williams, T. I. (2010). Earworms (stuck song syndrome): Towards a natural history of intrusive thoughts. British Journal of Psychology, 101(4), 637-653. DOI: 10.1348/000712609X479636 PDF: http://centaur.reading.ac.uk/5755/1/earworms_write-upBJP.pdf

Halpern, A. R., & Bartlett, J. C. (2011). The persistence of musical memories: A descriptive study of earworms. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 28(4), 425-432. DOI: 10.1525/mp.2011.28.4.425 PDF: http://www.academia.edu/download/45162267/The_Persistence_of_Musical_Memories_A_De20160428-27955-1tiomp.pdf

Tan, S., Pfordresher, P., & Harré, R. (2010). Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance. New York: Psychology Press.

Thompson, W. F. (2015) Music, Thought, and Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music, 2nd Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Williamson, V. J., Jilka, S. R., Fry, J., Finkel, S., Müllensiefen, D., & Stewart, L. (2012). How do “earworms” start? Classifying the everyday circumstances of Involuntary Musical Imagery. Psychology of Music, 40(3), 259-284. DOI: 10.1177/0305735611418553 PDF: http://www.doc.gold.ac.uk/~mas03dm/papers/Williamson_etal_Earworms_POM_2012.pdf

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

It seems that you are a perfect reader of this book:

On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind

What is it about the music you love that makes you want to hear it again?

Why do we crave a "hook" that returns, again and again, within the same piece?

And how does a song end up getting stuck in your head?

On Repeat offers the first in-depth inquiry into music's repetitive nature, focusing not on a particular style, or body of work, but on repertoire from across time periods and cultures. Author Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis draws on a diverse array of fields including music theory, psycholinguistics, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology, to look head-on at the underlying perceptual mechanisms associated with repetition. Her work sheds light on a range of issues from repetition's use as a compositional tool to its role in characterizing our behavior as listeners, and then moves beyond music to consider related implications for repetition in language, learning, and communication.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Definitely a highly relevant book which I expect will contain the answer, but this does not answer the question directly. +1 regardless, since this seems exactly like what the original OP is after. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Jun 20 '18 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ well, if it's exactly the question is after, then why don't you edit your question to reflect that? I don't think it would disqualify the other answer $\endgroup$ – Ooker Jun 20 '18 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, I'm not the original author of the question. There is a whole lengthy meta post around this. :) Was just trying to help the OP out. Also, I don't feel it is good practice to do too much 'back-and-forth' editing of questions/answers. It is only logical answers lead to new questions, but these should be asked in a new post. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Jun 20 '18 at 9:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.