Study: French National Anthem is a Singalong Hit

Music psychologists found "La Marseillaise" trumped the "Star Spangled Banner" and "God Save the Queen" when it comes to a catchy tune.

TORONTO – If you’ve ever found yourself singing along to France's national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” science can explain why.

American and British music psychologists have declared the French anthem more catchy to sing than “O Canada,” the Canadian anthem, the American “Star Spangled Banner,” or Britain’s “God Save the Queen.”

American musicologist Dr. Alisun Pawley and Dr. Daniel Müllensiefen of Goldsmith’s, University of London were commissioned by London-based Sing-a-long-a Productions to measure how different national anthems trigger a primal urge to sing.

Using a statistical model to measure melody, pitch and harmony, the music scientists concluded “La Marseillaise” had the catchiest score, followed by the Welsh anthem in second and Australia’s “Advance Australia Fair” in third place.

These findings may not impact your Karaoke night-out, but they come ahead of the Canadian tour for Sing-a-long-a Grease, starting February 24 at Bell Lightbox in Toronto, the headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival.

The British musicologists in earlier research on the most catchy songs concluded long and detailed musical phrases and multiples pitch changes in a chorus "hook" help bring out our natural tendency to sing.

The research also found people are more likely to sing along with male vocalists, possibly because of a subconscious tribal war cry, and that male voices making "noticeable effort" also helped people chime in.

Pawley and Mullensiefen last year unveiled research indicating British rock group Queen's 1977 classic rock ballad “We are the Champions” was the most sing-along-able song, according to their statistical model, followed by The Village People’s 1970s disco hit “YMCA.”

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