Your parents are right, modern music is getting louder and more repetitive – News – Music – The Independent
Hit songs are getting louder and rhythmically more repetitive, according to a scientific study of chart music, which concludes that pop’s golden era was actually the often-maligned 1980s.
A research team from the University of Bristol‘s Intelligent Systems Laboratory in the Faculty of Engineering set out to predict the popularity of a song by using state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms.
The team examined the UK Top 40 Singles Chart over the past 50 years and sought to identify the distinguishing features of songs which made the top five, compared to those which stumbled outside the top 30.
Click here for graphic: ‘Top of the Pops: Why the 80s were the best’
The researchers used musical features such as tempo, time signature, song duration and loudness. They also computed detailed summaries of the songs such as harmonic simplicity, how simple the chord sequence is, and “non-harmonicity” – how “noisy” a song is.
By weighting the most significant 23 audio features, the team, led by Dr Tijl de Bie, produced a catchy equation for a potential hit: w1 x f1 + w2 X f2 + … + w23 X f23. How good is this equation? They claim it can predict with an accuracy of 60 per cent if a song will make it to the top 5, or if it will never reach above position 30 on the UK Top 40 Singles Chart.
The team discovered several trends which may explain why the singles chart, dominated today by R&B/dance collaborations, has been described as the least diverse it has ever been.
Before the Eighties, the danceability of a song was not very relevant to its hit potential. But following the disco boom in the late Seventies, danceable songs were more likely to become a hit.
In the Eighties, slower musical styles tempo 70-89 beats per minute, such as ballads, were also more likely to become a hit than now. The UK’s best-selling singles of 1985 were “slowies” – “The Power Of Love” by Jennifer Rush followed by “I Know Him So Well“, the Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson duet.
Strange Random Pop Music Quote:
“If anyone asks you what kind of music you play, tell him ‘pop.’ Don’t tell him ‘rock’n’roll’ or they won’t even let you in the hotel.” – Buddy Holly (American Singer and songwriter, who produced some of the most distinctive and influential work in rock music. 1936-1959)
- How a scientific equation can predict whether a song will be a chart hit (dailymail.co.uk)
- Can science predict a hit song? (eurekalert.org)
- It’s scientifically possible to predict the next pop music hit [Mad Science] (io9.com)
- Can science predict a hit song? (physorg.com)
- Software ‘shows pop hit secrets’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Little Mix at No.1 in the singles chart with Cannonball (mirror.co.uk)
- Equation reveals hit song potential (mirror.co.uk)
- National News: Equation reveals hit song potential (coventrytelegraph.net)