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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
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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.

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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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