It's a frustrating thing most of us have experienced. A song gets stuck inside of your head, seemingly playing on a permanent loop. But what are the most difficult tunes to shift - and why do they get stuck in the first place?
Well, now you can find out - because researchers have developed a mathematical formula to explain the phenomena. The experts claim the formula sheds light on why some musical combinations are unforgettable - and in some cases, inescapable. These include Happy by Pharrell Williams , the Village People's YMCA and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and We are the Champions.
幸运的是，现在我们终于能弄清楚了，研究人员列出了一个数学公式来解释这种魔性洗脑的现象了。专家解释道，这个公式能阐明为什么某些旋律是如此的让人难以忘怀，甚至挥之不去的原因。这些旋律包括了我们耳熟能详的歌曲，如Pharrell Williams的《Happy》，Village People的《YMCA》，Queen乐队的《Bohemian Rhapsody》和《We are the Champions》。
According to the research by the University of St Andrews, the recipe for an earworm has five key components. These are receptiveness - how you feel about the song - predictability, surprise, melodic potency - how good the 'hook' is - and rhythmic repetition.
Bede Williams, of the University's School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies, looked at, among other things, a study into the nation's top 20 earworms, commissioned by Heinz to promote their new #cansong TV advert.
Bede, who is also research co-ordinator of the HARK project, which looks at our listening habits, said: "If you look at the songs which emerged from the research, they all have a distinctive rhythmic fingerprint - if we removed the melody they are recognisable by their rhythm alone.
"If you think of the opening of ' We Will Rock You ' or the chorus of 'Who Let the Dogs out?' you'd be able to identify the rhythmic hook that persists throughout each song independent of the melody.
“如果你回想一下《We Will Rock You》的前奏或《Who Let the Dogs out?》的副歌部分，你就能辨认出贯穿于整首歌的节奏，它是独立于旋律之外的。
"For example, the titles Jingle Bells, Shake It off and Gangnam Style would be referred to in poetry as anapaests, as they all have a pattern of two short syllables followed by a longer one.
“例如，《铃儿响叮当》、《Shake It off》，《江南Style》，他们的歌词都是抑扬顿挫，又兼含韵律。
"Uptown Funk is a perfect example of the rhythms of an earworm. One of the many devices used by the producers of Uptown Funk to make the song an earworm is the long rhythmic build-up of repeated phrases towards the drop of the chorus, which unusually, does not have any actual melody.“