An online game has been launched today at the Museum of Science and Industry, to explore the science of what makes a catchy tune.

It’s been made by Reading Room in collaboration with computational musicologist, Dr John Ashley Burgoyne and his team at the University of Amsterdam.

JL_picture_17#HookedOnMusic asks users to select which tune they think is the catchiest or asks them to sing along and try to stay in time.

“Catchy music is about so much more than summer hits. It’s really about what kinds of music we remember – and what kinds we don’t! With #HookedOnMusic, we’re trying to measure how much faster a ‘hook’ can come back to you compared to the rest of a song and what there is in the music that can explain the difference,” explained Dr Burgoyne.

There is some serious thinking behind the game, as scientists hope the results will aid future research into Alzheimer’s disease. By being able to predict the catchiest musical fragments, researchers hope to come up with new ways to trigger memories and provide therapeutic benefits.

“It’s great to be involved with such an innovative project.  Everyone knows when they’ve heard something catchy or which resonate with them in some way, and stays with them, but to try and uncover the science behind this is pretty exciting. And if the results from thousands of people playing the game lead to the scientists discovering how music can help people with serious memory loss then that would be fantastic,” said DJ and journalist Dave Haslam.

The game can be played online by logging on to HookedOnMusic.