While most music currently written for babies can be maddening for the parents who are listening, some scientists and musicians have been studying what little ones tune into the most and designing less annoying music around that.
Findings have clarified that babies prefer consonance over dissonance and exhibited the ability to remember the timbre and tempo of music they had previously been exposed to. A lot of data remains to be collected on what types of music are responsible for different emotional responses.
The C&G baby club wanted to take on this challenge and design a song scientifically proven to make babies happy. Along with scientists, Grammy award winning musician Imogen Heap was up to the task, armed with her own 18-month-old daughter Scout as her discerning audience.
She worked on a piece based on the recommendations backed by research such as using a repetitive main melody in a major key and utilizing devices like key changes, drum rolls, and rising pitch to encourage surprise and anticipation for little listeners. The music was aimed at being up-tempo, catering to the average heart rates of babies which are much faster than adults.
Imogen created four different melodies to test out in the lab. The 26 testers were made up of the target audience and ranged in ages from six to twelve months. Out of the four melodies, a clear winner stood out that most of the babies and even parents responded to the most positively.
To process the winning melody into a complete song, the study asked the opinion of about 2,500 parents to vote on silly sounds that most made their babies happy. The top ten included animal sounds and laughter. Heap was also mindful of writing lyrics parents would connect and enjoy themselves, creating an overall sense of happiness and well-being for those listening.
On the success of this recent project, the team plans to conduct further experiments and studies in this area resulting in happier babies and parents all around.
For cool down sounds that won’t get your baby bouncing with joy as much as unwinding and ready for sleep try the slower album innovative musician Michael Janisch recorded to soothe babies titled Jazz for Babies.
H/T Quartz Media