#Hookedonmusic – Brand new online game explores the science behind the tune

The Museum of Science & Industry launched a new online game, #HookedOnMusic, developed to explore the science behind what makes a musical hook.

Do you know your Beyonce from your Bay City Rollers? This brand new and interactive fun game for all has four ways to play – including asking users to select the tune they find the catchiest, to singing along and trying to stay in time. This addictive game gives users the chance to improve on their scores, and share results with their friends on social media networks. It can be played on the go or at home – with friends or on your own.

Created by computational musicologist Dr John Ashley Burgoyne and his team at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht, with the support of citizen science expert and Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, Erinma Ochu, these scientists hope that the results from #HookedOnMusic will aid future research into Alzheimer’s disease. This game aims to help scientists predict the catchiest musical fragments and devise ways to trigger memories and provide therapeutic benefits.

Launched at last year’s Manchester Science Festival at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) the 2013 citizen science programme – #HookedOnMusic – got the world talking music. The aim was to identify and nominate the catchiest tune – the hook that makes a tune catchy. Celebrities and the general public alike nominated tunes – all in the name of science. The nominated tunes are now part of this brand new and unique #HookedonMusic live online game.


DJ/journalist Dave Haslam was at the launch: “It’s great to be involved with such an innovative project. Everyone knows when they’ve heard something catchy or which resonate with them in some way, and stays with them, but to try and uncover the science behind this is pretty exciting. And if the results from thousands of people playing the game lead to the scientists discovering how music can help people with serious memory loss then that would be fantastic.”

The Museum is keen for as many people as possible to play the game. It’s simple and entertaining. Players listen to music clips and try to recognise them as fast as they can. It’s a completely musical game, and so players don’t need to know music trivia like titles and artists – if you’ve heard it before, you can play. Other elements of the game involve doing a comparison between two clips of a tune and judging which one is the catchier. The game can be played as many times as the player wants. The more participants the better the results will be – and the more scientists will be able to learn about musical memory.

Dr Burgoyne comments: “Catchy music is about so much more than summer hits. It’s really about what kinds of music we remember – and what kinds we don’t! With #HookedOnMusic, we’re trying to measure how much faster a ‘hook’ can come back to you compared to the rest of a song and what there is in the music that can explain the difference.”

Dr Marieke Navin, Director of Manchester Science Festival at the Museum of Science & Industry said, “We are delighted that the Museum is launching an experiment of this kind and is part of a major research project that is both about public engagement and scientific discovery. It is fantastic that something as universally enjoyable and appealing as a game on music can also be at the cutting edge of science.”

#HookedOnMusic can be played by logging online to www. www.hookedonmusic.org.uk Please follow us on twitter too at @McrScifest or @voiceofmosi #HookedOnMusic



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