Hit songs rely on increasing “harmonic surprise” to hook listeners

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Hip-hop artist Childish Gambino (aka actor Donald Glover) made a splash in 2018 with the release of his Grammy-winning hit single, "This Is America." With its stark, sudden shifts between choral melodies in major chords and menacing percussive elements drawn from the trap subgenre, the song constantly defies the listener's expectations throughout.

Ars Technica

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