Repetition in music, and why we love it

It's difficult to hear "mahna mahna" without answering "doot doooo do do do." (YouTube Screengrab)
It’s difficult to hear “mahna mahna” without answering “doot doooo do do do.” (YouTube Screengrab)

Think about your favorite song. How many times do you hear the chorus repeat? What is it about repetition in music that seems to hook us?

Basically, it boils down to the fact that we like what we’ve been exposed to before — a phenomenon that psychologists refer to as “The Mere Exposure Effect.”

In this TedEd video lesson, teacher Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis outlines some of the basic concepts and ideas behind this effect, and why we seem to love repetition in music.

Watch the video on “Music and Repetition” below and see the entire lesson on TedEd’s website.

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