I remember hearing about a 3 or 5 note sequence that is in many popular songs like Frozen's Let it Go or Katy Perry's Fireworks. Supposedly your brain eats it up like sugar.

Is there a name for what I am describing?

  • Can you provide a link to an exact moment in a song that has that sequence? YouTube link with timestamp, maybe?
    – dizzwave
    Nov 29 '16 at 20:20

You may be thinking of the recently-named (and stupidly so) "millenial whoop." It's not a 3- or 5-note sequence, but rather an alternation between the 3rd and 5th notes of the scale.

(Here is a similar link.)

It's not a new thing; it's been in music for decades now. But some bozo must have decided that calling it "millenial" something would probably get more clicks.


This is called an earworm. I'm not aware of one specific musical meme that dominates all others --if there was just one, I'm sure we'd all know it by heart --but the article referenced above describes some of the common characteristics of successful earworms.

The general idea of there being some particular musical figure of particular power is well-established in popular culture. One example is the "secret chord" of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (really a progression, IV, V, vi, IV), and its predecessor, the "Lost Chord".

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