Creating Memorable Songs

21st March 2017

The Rewise team was very excited to discover recent research (published in 2016) into how music can involuntarily have an effect on memory. There is much research which suggests the common links between music and increased memorability, but this research goes that one step further, dissecting the ways in which a piece of music can help retention of information by utilising a variety of different techniques. A significant part of the research investigates the spontaneity of musical recall, which we are all likely to have experienced on many occasions throughout our lives. This is referred to as, ‘involuntary musical imagery (INMI, also known as “earworms”)’ and is described by this research as ‘the experience of a tune being spontaneously recalled and repeated within the mind’. By utilising earworms in our songs, we can make revising and learning as natural and as enjoyable as possible.

When creating our new GCSE revision resources, specifically designed for the new GCSE syllabus due to be sat for the first time in June 2017, we incorporated many of these elements into our songs in order to enhance those wonderful links between memorability and song creation. According to this research, the features of a song which can help increase memorability include:

  • songs that have notes with longer durations and smaller pitch intervals because they are considered easier to sing along to

  • songs which have hooks (hooks are audio symbolic musical features which make a song catchy)

  • songs which have both complex and simple melodies

  • songs which have repetition in terms of lyrics and melody

  • songs being reminiscent of music which is popular to the target audience

  • songs being played aloud

You will find repetition throughout our songs and will see that we have worked with professional publishing artists to create music which is relevant and popular to our young target audience. By getting the blend between artistic independence and academic rigour just right, we have taken this research forward to create a body of songs which will allow young people to enjoy the process of GCSE revision.

Jakubowski, K., Finkel, S., Stewart, L., & Müllensiefen, D. (2016, November 3). Dissecting an Earworm: Melodic Features and Song Popularity Predict Involuntary Musical Imagery. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication.


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