The best lullabies according to science: from the classics to One, by U2


“Sleep kid, sleep now, the coconut is coming and it will take you,” says the lyrics of a traditional lullaby. The funny thing is that despite the frightening message, this lullaby succeeds its purpose. This is: that the babies fall asleep quickly and fall into the arms of Morpheus. The key does not lie in the lyrics, but in the music. In fact, a study by Harvard University (USA) published in the scientific journal Current Biology He brought out that human beings are capable of distinguishing a song made to dance from a lullaby in any language and from any culture in the world; including some quite remote and isolated, such as the lullabies of the Peruvian Quechuas or the Ainus, an indigenous ethnic group settled mainly on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

But what do children’s lullabies have in common that we are so good at differentiating them? Is the question asked at Cuckooland, a British children’s furniture company. Neither short nor lazy, they had a team of researchers analyze ten classic children’s lullabies, including the popular lullaby of Brahms or Estrellita, where are you? And they came to the conclusion that there was a common formula: they were all around ninety-one beats per minute, usually composed in the key of C, and written in a four-by-four rhythm.

“The function of a lullaby is none other than to calm a baby and help him sleep, so a slow tempo, a simple rhythmic pattern and a simple melody, easy to memorize and sing, with repetitive phrases and verses, was to be expected. ”, Annaliese Grimaud, a researcher at the Music & Science Lab at the University of Durham (England), analyzed the study.

Then it occurred to the Cuckooland researchers that they could go a little further and find out if there were modern songs that met these canons. Sifting through the Spotify charts, they came to the conclusion that among the ones that best fit the “lullaby formula” are Only human by Jonas Brothers, Someone you loved by Lewis Capaldi, and You need to calm down. by Taylor Swift. Even one from Sean Paul and DJ David Guetta, Mad love. Who was going to tell the popular DJ! What left them absolutely stunned is that there was one that had all the characteristics of the ideal lullaby. Namely: One, from the Irish rock band U2. An interesting alternative to the classics to sleep the suckers.

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