The first song scientifically tested to make babies happy

Composed with help from UK babies, parents, psychologists and Grammy award-winning musician Imogen Heap

Boo (66%), raspberry (57%) and sneezing (51%) voted top sounds by UK parents to feature on the track

Imogen Heap's : The Happy Song
Imogen Heap’s : The Happy Song

A thousand British parents have helped C&G baby club create an extraordinary, groundbreaking new song called The Happy Song – the first scientifically tested song created to make babies happy.

Mums and dads across the UK were asked to the name the noises that make their little ones cheerful so they could be added to the track, which is released today on Spotify and SoundCloud.  Top sounds include sneezing (51%), animal sounds (23%) and baby laughter (28%), which are all featured in the song that was created by C&G baby club, leading child and music psychologists and Grammy award-winning musician Imogen Heap.

The song, designed to encourage happiness and laughter for babies aged 6 – 24 months was played to and tested on 56 infants, monitoring their reactions to see whether it worked. Remarkably, the cheerful two minute long tune amazed researchers when it brought smiles of delight, laughter and happiness to the little ones. 

The specially formulated testing process involving parents, Imogen and Goldsmith University psychologists Caspar Addyman and Lauren Stewart first started with mums and dads uploading sounds that made their little ones laugh to the C&G baby club page. Imogen took these sounds sent in by UK Mums and Dads, along with some previous scientific research and hypotheses from the psychologists, and worked her musical magic to produce four short tracks that explored different tempos, chord ranges and patterns, pitches, rhythms, performance cues and musical devices.

The first person to contribute to and hear them was her 18 month old daughter, Scout. However, more opinions were needed. The Goldsmiths team then carried out a three-month testing process at their infant laboratory during which they identified the ingredients to create the ultimate happy song for little ones. They monitored more than 50 babies’ reactions to the tracks, including monitoring movements, facial expressions, heart rate and vocalisations to see which parts of the song created a positive mood.

After three months of testing to create a final track most favoured by the babies, Imogen added the finishing touches and prepared the track for release.

Imogen said: “I wanted to write a song that I could sing to Scout and that other parents could sing to their little ones.  I’ve never composed a song in this way before. I love the fact that a group of babies were ultimately choosing the direction of a song – vicariously of course via the Goldsmiths team.”

The Happy Song contains lyrics telling of parents’ love for their children wherever they are, which is a fact all parents can relate to. The 4/4 tempo was chosen as it is the most popular and easy to dance to. Imogen chose to compose the song in the key of E flat as it was the key Scout sang a melody in on the first studio session.

The research found that the most popular sound that brings smiles to babies’ faces was ‘boo’, according to two thirds of parents.

Over half (57%) said their child liked it when they blew a raspberry, and 51% said their young ones like the sound of sneezing. Other sounds revealed in the study, some of which are included in the track, are kissing noises (43%) and babies laughing (28 percent). 

Dr Addyman said: “In the past researchers have looked at how noises and music might sooth or distress babies.  Rarely has anyone focused on what sounds make babies happy.  Our unusual team of parents, babies, scientists and the talented Imogen Heap each brought unique elements to the project, resulting in this fun, uplifting track that makes babies smile.  The final song is a clever mixture of appealing sounds, musical motifs and interactive lyrics that gives babies and parents a refreshing modern alternative to nursery rhymes.”

Louise Morley, Brand Manager at C&G baby club, said: “Being able to identify what makes babies happy is part of our ongoing commitment to help mums and dads treasure and enjoy their children’s early years. It’s an exciting time for parents and we want to fuel, celebrate and support every baby. This song has been designed for parents to use at home, in the car or out and about, in those moments when parents want to celebrate their little ones’ happiness. The song can be used to create a fun and rewarding bonding experience between baby and parent. We’re proud to be encouraging happiness in all babies.” 

BAFTA winning director Michael J Ferns from Pretzel Films, 24, directed the music video, which shows seven families enjoying listening to the song, which is today released on C&G’s Spotify hub – www.soundofhappy.comYouTube channel.

Listeners can learn more about how the song was created with the three minute ‘Making The Happy Song’ film, which summarises the eight-month process from idea creation to final performance.

‘The Happy Song’ is now available on C&G baby club’s social media channels, soundofhappy.com and on Spotify, so parents all over the UK can play it time and time again. The “Making of The Happy Song” and music video can be watched on C&G’s YouTube channel here.

The top ten most popular sounds for making babies happy contributed by almost 2,300 UK parents are below:

Top 10 popular sounds to make baby happy
Top 10 popular sounds to make baby happy

The Happy Song Lyrics


Bring bring on the bicycle

Beep beep in the car

Ping ping a submarine

Phew phew helicopter

A choo choo train an aeroplane

Or whee down the slide

 

I just adore ‘dore ‘dore you every day more

Wherever we are

 

So up in the sky

And deep in the ocean

Through valleys and hills

Away we go

 

Bring bring on the bicycle

Beep beep in the car

Ping ping a submarine

Phew phew helicopter

A choo choo train an aeroplane

A rocket to the stars!

 

There’s a dance dance dance going on in my heart

Wherever we are

 

So up in the sky

And deep in the ocean

Through valleys and hills

Away we go

 

You oo oo little monkey who’s staying up late

Who purrs like a cat when they get their own way

Who then turns into a lion and let’s out a

ROAR!!!

 

I love love love you every day more

Whatever’s in store

 

Wooo up in the sky

And deep in the ocean

Through valleys and hills

Away we go

‘The Happy Song’ was created by world-class psychologists and Grammy award-winning musician Imogen Heap with advertising agency BETC London and music consultancy Felt Music.

Imogen Heap's : The Happy Song
Imogen Heap’s : The Happy Song

About BETC London


BETC London believes in the power of creativity to connect through culture and drive business results. Our work has always stood out for its contemporary style, creative craft and cultural impact. We are a global agency with a unique vision for brands, a vision that goes beyond advertising into culture through music and fashion, food, film, design… 

Since opening its doors in June 2011, BETC London is one of London’s leading young creative agencies, attracting both international brands such as Coty, Gant, Cote D’Or and Air France, and local classic British brands such as Cow & Gate. BETC London was the first agency in a global micro-network established by the renowned French agency BETC http://www.betc.co.uk/

About Felt Music


Felt is the most complete music resource available. We are not limited in the music that we can access or that our composers can create. Our essential mix of services and our distinctly personal approach makes us a ‘can do’ company, especially when project needs inevitably change. Whatever the extent of your creative ambition, we will find a route to music that exceeds the expectations set by your budget. The difference is that we go further by exploring our complete range of resources in response to a brief in order to deliver the most considered and comprehensive music results http://www.feltmusic.com/

About Pretzel Films


The world has changed since we opened our doors in 2005. Clients have less time and less budget, and audiences’ attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.

Walk through our doors and you will discover one of the most creative production hubs in the world – a world where creative talent is nurtured by experienced producers to deliver the freshest, most budget-conscious work for our clients – it is this ethos that keeps us as one of the top 5 production companies in the UK, and we were proud to be nominated Independent Production Company of the year by BAFTA in 2015 http://pretzelfilms.com/

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