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Monday, July 14, 2008

"Mamma Mia, here I go again/ My, my, how can I resist you?"



Okay, I'll admit it. I'm one of those

people addicted to the music of the pop group ABBA. So, when I saw the link on Jilly's blog today... well, I was very interested it what it had to say.
Can science explain why ABBA is so catchy? [ABBA story on Boston.com]
Sarah Rodman writes, "ABBA's songs continue to endure as what scientists have dubbed "earworms" 35 years after the band's first album was released. Like those little bugs, the tunes burrow into our brains and keep hitting the repeat button." I've always maintained that ABBA's female vocalists have one of the sweetest harmonies around. They are just about as perfect as humanly possible. And their harmony may in fact have something to do with this.

According to Daniel Levitin, author of "This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession," The ABBA model of the multiple voices is closer to "the chemical reactions we have to events in the world, for tens of thousands of years when we as a species heard music we heard groups singing it, not an individual and not an individual standing on a stage." Sorry Frank Sinatra and Miley Cyrus.

Levitin says their upbeat songs like "Money, Money, Money" have simple lyrics that makes them easy to sing along to. That he adds, gives listeners "an even more powerful hit of happy juice in the brain from dopamine."

But what about the sad and more contemplative songs? "The Winner Takes It All," for example.Here, brains produce an opposite but equally enjoyable reaction. "You get the comfort hormone of prolactin when you hear sad music," Levitin explains. That's the same hormone that's released when mothers nurse their babies. It's soothing.

The article points to a number of others individuals with the credential to speak on the subject of musicality and the brain... they all find reason to count the music of ABBA as infectious. A fascinating article and somewhat reassuring that I am not alone.

Now, I can't wait for the premiere of Mamma Mia. ...here I go again... My my, how can I resist you...

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