From Madonna to ABBA… why do these hits make us dance?

“They’re dragging me to the end of the night” Who? Who is that ? The tubing who make us dance on festive evenings. Each celebration has its killer playlist and the night of New Year, the iconic evening of the year, is no exception to this rule. With eight billion human beings on Earth, melodies on which to jiggle are legion. And we all have favorites to wiggle our hips. For move your bodyYacine likes to listen I like to move it from Real 2 Real and The Mad Stuntman.

“It’s a classic electronic music that everyone knows and a pleasure to let off steam on it! “, explains this reader of 20 minutes who replied to our call for testimonials. Hard to blame him when hundreds of lemurs also dance hearing him in the Animation Film Madagascar released in 2005. With 123 beats per minute, I like to move it is in perfect tempo. HAS 120 beats per minute, as the name of the moving film by Robin Campillo released in 2017, the body and the human brain synchronize more easily. Because music is above all with our brain that we listen to it.

From the ear to the rhythm of the heart

“There are links between the auditory regions and the motor regions of the brain. When we hear a rhythmic rhythm, we instinctively start dancing. Even heartbeats tend to be correlated with the tempo of the music,” explains Solveig Serre, CNRS research director and musicologist. If a plethora of armies in the world use military hymns to encourage soldiers to march, it’s not for nothing. Stéphanie, she, quotes Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) of the group ABBA.

“Any time and anywhere, from the first notes, I jump! I stir while doing the dishes, I dance on the floor as soon as it sounds, in the car on the way to work on days when I don’t want to, ”lists our internet user. Lively, rhythmic and repetitive, the group’s song Swedish released in 1979 has many qualities to push us to perform our best choreographies. But the band’s music has another advantage.

“Music drives dance”

“ABBA also belongs to a shared intangible musical heritage”, emphasizes Solveig Serre. “What works for everyone is surely the great hits that everyone knows like Britney Spears or Madonna”, explains the popular music specialist who adds that “the ear is cultural”. When all the guests know the song and its lyrics, playing it creates a particularly powerful moment of cohesion. A phenomenon familiar to football fans when they sing Freed from desire, for instance.

It is also for this reason that Yacine adores I like to move it. It’s a “pleasure to hear everyone shout ‘MOVE IT!’ “, he explains. At the end of the evening, who has never tasted his pleasure when the whole assembly recited the words of Dana’s tribe Where of, much decried, Connemara Lakes ? And on certain tempos, difficult to remain still. “Music leads to dance, one goes with the other. This was also a problem during the Covid-19 where you had to be seated because some music is listened to with the body”, deciphers Solveig Serre.

Jiggle to some opera

However, dancing can be learned. And all eras and generations have not swayed their hips to the same sounds. It’s hard to imagine an opera spectator getting up and waltzing to the sound of love is a rebellious birdiconic song by the opera Carmen. And yet, “to this music, in the 18th century, we were standing up and moving. There was a whole education, carried by the bourgeoisie, which seated people and made them silent, ”underlines Solveig Serre. Still, opera might not be the best choice to get your guests moving as 2023 dawns.

Try instead Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson. For our reader Magalie and her 9-year-old daughter, it’s a must-have song. “She automatically gives the banana!” We listen to it while fidgeting in the car, and if it passes in the evening, there, I no longer answer for anything! She lends herself to all the excesses in terms of choreography, it’s now or never to be lathered on the track, ”she says. Very rhythmic, this song indeed calls for dancing.

From pogo to entrechat

“It’s not so much the melody that makes us dance as the rhythmic structure,” emphasizes the research director at CNRS. And if Magalie insists on the lightness of this song which “gives you the banana”, a sad song can quite cause a similar effect if its tempo is fast, it is rhythmic and has bass. ” Then we dance of Stromae is a song that is quite sad in its lyrics but still gives you dance. A song that makes you want to dance is not necessarily due to a melody that is joyful”, notes Solveig Serre.

But for Magalie’s daughter, Uptown Funk will probably forever be linked to those happy memories with his mother. “Music has a very powerful nostalgic power and is strongly linked to good times,” explains the researcher. So, each playlist has its audience. If your friends are metalheads, prefer Slipknot to midnight demons. “The music of The party [film sorti en 1980] if the guests were born in 1960, everyone dances too, but it’s not the same dance,” emphasizes Solveig Serre. Pogo, slow, entrechats, etc., all dance steps are authorized for New Year’s Eve. New Year. And for classics, nothing better than the algorithms of music streaming platforms like Deezer. With a good speaker.

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From Madonna to ABBA… why do these hits make us dance?


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