Record company bosses have been trying to figure this out for decades, if not longer. How do you create a hit record? It turns out, it might actually be quite simple… as classic bands like the Beatles and The Beach Boys have proven numerous times. According to US neuroscientist’s… to achieve greatness, a song needs a sudden chord change. An unexpected chord change is thought to trigger a rush of dopamine in the brain similar to that created by food and sex. This is the moment when people get ‘chills’ or ‘goose bumps’ from a song. It’s a technique is used by the Beach Boys in the first 10 seconds of ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ (listen below), as well as in the final chorus of the Beatles’ classic ‘Penny Lane’. Surprise is the important element, because it is a measure of new information – something that the reward centers of the brain recognize as being of value, leading to a positive emotional response. However, it seems we don’t like our pop music to be too unpredictable. Part of the brain reward comes when the sudden chord change returns to normal.
Image source: http://www.newgrounds.com