75 percent of musical playlists contain major chords which are tied to happiness
Songs in ‘happiness keys’ F and C major are most likely to be musical hits
One of the best ways to cure your January Blues could be through listening to your favourite musical theatre hits – especially those in the major chord.
According to scientific research, major chords are linked with feelings of happiness, whereas minor chords can have the opposite effect and make you feel sad. Also, otherwise known as the ‘happiness key’, the major F is linked to emotions of victory, triumph and relief, the major C is linked to positivity – both common in musical theatre.
To discover which songs from popular musicals are boosting the nation’s mood the most, theatre bookings platform SeatPlan conducted a study on the most popular musical hits of all time, analysing Spotify’s most-played songs from musicals and their use of ‘happy’ keys and chords…
Top 10 Happiest Musical Hits
Rank Song Musical Key Chord
1 Seasons of Love Rent F Major
2 Helpless Hamilton F Major
3 You’ll Be Back Hamilton C Major
4 For Forever Dear Evan Hansen F Major
5 When I Grow Up Matilda F Major
6 Popular Wicked C Major
7 She Used To Be Mine Waitress F Major
8 Words Fail Dear Evan Hansen C Major
9 It’s Quiet Uptown Hamilton F Major
10 Hello! The Book of Mormon C Major
The most popular happy song is ‘Seasons of Love’ from Rent in the mood-boosting F key, with a total of 81,270,069 streams.
‘Helpless’ from Hamilton is the second most popular happy song, with a playlist popularity score of 49, followed by ‘You’ll Be Back’ (44), which both contain major chords and feature in the top 20 most streamed musical songs of all time.
Hamilton – which first opened as a theatre show in 2015 – features a total of 19 times in Spotify’s top 100 most played musical songs, with songs primarily in the major chord.
Dear Evan Hansen song, ‘For Forever’ is in the cheerful major chord and is fourth in the top 100 for uplifting Spotify musical playlists, with a score of 37 and 59,802,810 total streams. ‘Words Fail’ is also in the ‘happy’ major chord and has a playlist popularity score of 28.
Dear Evan Hansen, features 12 times in the top 100 most played songs on Spotify playlists, with songs mostly containing the major chord.
What makes these songs such good mood boosters?
Well, mood-boosting major chords are in 75 percent of musical playlists compared to minor chords, which are in 25 percent of them. Meaning Spotify listeners prefer to listen to an upbeat musical number.
Also, songs in ‘happiness keys’ F major and C major are the most popular for musical songs featuring 8 and 12 times in the top 100.
The study shows a fairly upbeat average tempo of 119 BPM (found to induce a state of joy), a major F key and chord, and some uplifting, catchy lyrics make the winning combination for a feel-good musical hit to cure your January Blues.
Ben Jackson, CEO and Founder of SeatPlan commented on the findings:
“With many musicals cancelling due to the Omnicom variant, we might not be able to immerse ourselves in our favourite shows, but we can certainly brighten your day with a playlist of mood-boosting hits.
“For anyone looking to cure the dreaded January Blues many of us face, we hope this study will motivate anyone feeling down to tune into their favourite musical hits at home and continue to support the theatre industry in 2022.”
You can view the full findings at https://seatplan.com/features/the-ultimate-musicals-playlist/