Last update: 2014.11.03
Please cite this webpage as:
COGITCH: A research project on musical hooks and musical transmission

Information related to NWO-funded research project COGITCH(1) on musical hooks and musical transmission

A collaboration between Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, Sound & Vision, Radio 5 and Meertens Institute.

Abstract: Sound & Vision (S&V) possesses a unique collection of popular Dutch music. The Meertens Institute (MI) possesses a unique collection of Dutch folk songs. These two collections of musical heritage belong to the same culture, but are only separated for institutional reasons. S&V wishes to make these musical archives accessible in an integrated way for the general public. MI wishes the same, to enable musicological research on song evolution. Driven by these demands, COGITCH's general objective is to develop generic techniques to index distributed sources by developing an interoperable system. In a collaborative research, cutting across the boundaries between music cognition and computer science, we develop generic techniques for relating music from different collections. In developing retrieval methods, we will take a top-down approach, working from musical knowledge and cognitive psychology towards the identification and processing of audio features. On-line annotations provided by listeners will support establishing the relationships between ‘hooks’ (perceptually salient musical patterns) and music.

hookedAt the University of Amsterdam the focus will be on developing a web-based environment, so-called ITCH environment (Identification, Tagging and Characterisation of Hooks) to obtain large amounts of judgments from the lay audience on what makes a fragment of music easy recognizable and/or stick in one’s mind. This will allow for evaluating —in an empirical and controlled way— the explanatory power of cognitive models of melody and rhythm perception in their prediction of what structural (e.g., pitch, key, rhythm, meter) and non-structural (e.g., associative, emotional, cultural) aspects of a melody play a role in the memorization, recall and appreciation of music.

For more information see the COGITCH website.

(1) A cognitive itch refers to an ‘earworm’, a fragment of music that you can’t get out of your head.

Media attention related to COGITCH

  1. The preliminary outcome of the online game was announced in Manchester, UK on 2 November 2014. Numerous newspapers reported on this.

  2. See more Hooked! related entries on the blog Music Matters.

  3. Interview at RTL Late Nite (zie het volledige fragment hier).

  4. Interview at Tijd voor Max:

  5. Promotion video of Manchester Science Festival:

    Imagine listening to a catchy tune. When do you nod your head and sing along? That's the hook, the most memorable part of the song, crafted by songwriters to stick in your head and exploited by DJs to get people onto the dance floor. Everyone knows a hook when they hear it, but scientists don't know why. #Hooked was launched this week at Manchester Science Festival and will run until September 2014. During the Festival people can contribute their catchiest songs and stories to build the playlist and scientists will debate the science of what makes music catchy, from hooks, to earworms and hit songs. There will be a silent disco and shows about music with ‘Captain Hooked’ (see website for more details). Nominations for the playlist (which runs across all musical genres) will continue in the run up to the launch of the #Hooked game in early 2014.

  6. Launched op the Hooked!-app:
    hooked 10 December 2013: Launch of the Hooked! game. Free download at iTunes.

    Het Parool (11 december 2013). Amsterdammers willen geheim van Top 2000-hit ontdekken met app (zie link).
    Volkskrant (10 december 2013) App moet geheim van Top 2000-hit ontrafelen (zie link).
    AD (10 december 2013) Geheim van Top 2000-hit ontdekken met app (zie link).
    De Gooi- en Eemlander en diverse regionale dagbladen (10 december 2013).

  7. Folia Tv:

    Folia Tv (25 October 2013) Ashley Burgoyne on what makes music catchy.

  8. BBC Radio Manchester:

    BBC Radio Manchester (16 October 2013) Interview with Erinma Ochu and Ashley Burgoyne.

  9. BBC Radio 4 (16 October 2013) Interview with Ashley Burgoyne.

  10. The Telegraph:

    The Telegraph (16 October 2013) Hooked at the Manchester Science Festival.

  11. The Mail Online:

    The Mail Online (16 October 2013) Hooked at the Manchester Science Festival.

  12. Volkskrant: Oorwurmen, 'hooks' en het songfestival VK

  13. NWO Waarom blijven vooral domme liedjes eindeloos in je hoofd zitten?

  14. Wat maakt muziek bijzonder? NWO
    Zie ook de Wall Street Journal van 11 februari 2012.

  15. Why do some melodies stick in your mind? [with subtitles] Top 2000