Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry has launched a new online game to explore the science behind music – #HookedOnMusic. The game is designed to test how quickly people can recognise tunes, what they find the catchiest and whether they can keep to time when the music fades out.

It is hoped that the fascinating (and fun) experiment will aid future research into Alzheimer’s disease by enabling scientists to devise ways to trigger memories and provide therapeutic benefits by identifying what makes music catchy and memorable.

#HookedOnMusic was developed by computational musicologist Dr John Ashley Burgoyne and his team at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht with support from Erinma Ochu (a citizen science expert and Engagement Fellow of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation which seeks to achieve improvements in human and animal health). The first steps in its launch were taken at last year’s Manchester Science Festival at the 2013 citizen science programme where the public were given an opportunity to nominate the tunes which would be used in this interactive game which has now come to fruition.


DJ Dave Haslam at the launch of MOSI's #HookedOnMusic game

DJ Dave Haslam at the launch of MOSI’s #HookedOnMusic game


DJ/journalist Dave Haslam (pictured above) was present at the launch and commented: “It’s great to be involved with such an innovative project. Everyone knows when they’ve heard something catchy or which resonates with them in some way, and stays with them, but to try and uncover the science behind this is pretty exciting. And if the results from thousands of people playing the game lead to the scientists discovering how music can help people with serious memory loss then that would be fantastic.”

The game itself can be found at and people can play as many times as they want and share their results via social media. It doesn’t call for people to actually know the names of songs or artists, just to try to recognise the tunes themselves as fast as they can. The songs featured are from every decade from the 1940s onwards and you might be amazed at how many you actually know. Options include challenging yourself to get as many right in a row as possible; a time trial; picking the catchiest hook; and recognising a tune. You can also see your achievements as well as your rating and specialities – are you a 60s expert or do you just live in the now?

Dr Marieke Navin, Director of Manchester Science Festival at the Museum of Science & Industry said, “We are delighted that the Museum is launching an experiment of this kind and is part of a major research project that is both about public engagement and scientific discovery. It is fantastic that something as universally enjoyable and appealing as a game on music can also be at the cutting edge of science.”

The museum is encouraging as many people as possible to take part and to share their results as the more people who play the better the results and the more potential for scientific findings to be made which could assist in the fight against Alzheimers.

Play along at and share your results using #HookedOnMusic