Music to Make You Happy

It’s generally accepted that music can influence your mood, or at least complement and enhance your existing mood – but to what extent can music be deliberately designed to do so?

Designer Mood

On YouTube and other sites, you can find some creations that might seem bizarre at first, but to parents their purpose is immediately obvious – for example, 11 hour videos featuring nothing but the sound of white noise, or extended recordings of waterfalls.

The idea here is that the noise can be soothing for young babies and helps them off to sleep within a sort of sonic envelope; in practice, it’s far from foolproof but definitely worth a shot.

Taking this concept to another level, and for a slightly older audience (6 months to 2 years to be specific) Cow & Gate hired an agency to develop a song that would have a positive mood altering effect on those who heard it. After conducting surveys of parents and performing research on actual babies/toddlers, the agency came up with a list of sounds that were the ‘happiest’.

The results of their research were then handed to Imogen Heap, who went on to compose ‘The Happy Song’ – essentially, a corporate-sponsored baby mind control music experiment.

While the concept of mind control using audio has been around for a while – for example, brain entrainment using binaural beats (which in some cases claim to induce mind enhancing meditative states) – this at least is a fairly up-front project with a simple goal. Most parents won’t be too concerned if it’s a corporate sponsored branding exercise – if the song gets a child to sleep, it will probably be embraced with open arms…


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