Play the song that science created to make your baby gloriously happy
We've known for eons that music evokes emotions within us. We've all got a favourite ballad to shed a few tears to and an upbeat song that makes our bodies involuntarily jump up on the dance floor.
And we've already told you about the very best song in the world to play to get your baby to sleep - so now what if we told you that a song has been especially designed to make your baby laugh and bounce around with happiness?
Child development expert Caspar Addyman and musical psychologist Lauren Stewart were enlisted by English baby food company Cow & Gate to decode the science behind baby music preferences, then make "a song scientifically proven to make babies happy".
Mr Addyman says there has been much research around the music tastes of adults, but less is known about what music babies like on an emotional level. Other through than short-lived, observable reactions, babies can't exactly tell us - though he points to a study that suggests "newborn babies prefer Bach to Aerosmith".
They looked at research for his Baby Laughter Project, which canvassed parents about the nursery rhymes and songs their babies enjoyed most. They also consulted Stewart's work on 'earworms' for their most distinctive characteristics. It was agreed the song should be high-pitched and sing-songy, the tones and intonations many of us naturally adopt when speaking to babies.
They then approached musician Imogen Heap, who at that time had an 18-month-old of her own. Heap was given a few key recommendations for making the song:
- in the major key
- simple, repetitive main melody
- use of drum rolls and key and pitch changes to delight and surprise
- fast tempo
- lively female vocals 'ideally recorded in the presence of an actual baby'.
Try it on your baby and see what happens. You can see babies and their reactions in the music video - it looks like it lived up to the aim of being 'silly and social.'