National endowment for the humanities

Sometimes, I’ll mention “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and someone in the room will just start singing the chorus immediately. Part of that has to do with this melodic context stuff and the tonal hierarchy of certain notes that dominate that section, but it also has to do with other stuff like lyrical repetition in the chorus, tonal resolution, the rhythm and meter, and even with personal memories we might attribute to that song. Cognitive science can explain a portion of this, but not all of it, as Cui is sure to mention.

It absolutely could make “lazy” DJs better selectors, however, that is not our focus. We want to help people become better listeners and help them identify and understand the music they actually love, so they can confidently find more of it.

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