What is the best happy jazz song

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This content was published on May 16, 2018 - 5:20 pm (Keystone-SDA)

Mathematicians have deciphered the secret of the success of pop songs: happy, danceable music titles sung by women make it into the charts more often than sad songs by male performers.

This was found by researchers from the University of California in the US west coast city of Irvine in a study published on Wednesday, for which they evaluated hundreds of thousands of songs. The general musical trend is therefore going in the opposite direction: More and more sad songs are being released.

"We have been able to predict the success of songs based on their musical characteristics," said study co-author Natalia Komarova. Her team of mathematicians analyzed more than 500,000 songs published in the UK between 1985 and 2015. Songs were considered successful when they made it into the top 100 of the charts - that is an average of four percent of the new releases in a year.

Only the sound characteristics of the songs were evaluated, not the lyrics. "A successful song is usually happier and more danceable than the average," explained Komarova. Overall, chart hits are "much" happier than less successful songs, wrote the researchers in the British specialist magazine "Royal Society Open Science". And in fact, these characteristics also apply to this year's winning song at the Eurovision Song Contest, the song "Toy" by Israeli starter Netta Barzilai.

According to the study, songs that the researchers describe as "easy" and "danceable" are also becoming more popular. One reason for this could be the triumphant advance of electronic music - and the decline in rock and heavy metal. Even so, "more and more sad songs are released," the researchers said.

Men on the decline

Male artists have been less and less successful in recent years: "In recent years, successful songs have been sung by women more often," explained the researchers. In view of the current debate about the unequal treatment of women in the music industry, sexist prejudices and the sexualization of female singers, this is "particularly interesting".

According to the researchers, classical and jazz songs have little chance of becoming chart hits. The most successful genres of music were therefore dance and pop music. As examples of happy and successful songs, the researchers named songs from 1985: "Live is Life" by the Austrian band Opus, "Freedom" by the British pop duo Wham! and "Glory Days" by US rocker Bruce Springsteen.

Songwriters could "in a certain way" orient themselves to the findings, said Komarova. A "major component of success" cannot be quantified mathematically: "Otherwise everyone could write a chart hit."

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