A song’s structure can be linked to its popularity

Music can elicit strong emotions, which can be hard to describe. A new study has found that a simple change in harmonic structure can contribute to our preference for certain songs. Analyzing the chords of over 500 pop songs between 1958 and 1991, the study reveals a link between those showing higher ‘harmonic surprise’ (chords that do not usually follow each other) and their popularity in the Billboard Top 100 chart.

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