The Sound of Happy

When I started at Goldsmiths last October I gave a talk to my new department about my research with laughing babies. Straight afterwards Prof. Lauren Stewart came up to me and suggested we collaborate on something. Lauren is a professor of the psychology of music and was interested in how babies respond to music. Music is laden with emotion and so it would be fascinating to learn more about its effect on young babies. So I readily agreed but that was as far as we got, we couldn’t find a suitable project.

But by weird and happy coincidence in April this year C&G Baby Club called Lauren up saying they wanted her help to make ‘scientifically proven happy song for babies’.  Lauren called me and, of course, we said yes.  With help of FELT music consultancy, they recruited Grammy winner Imogen Heap as the composer and Michael J Ferns and Pretzel Films to film it.

It was a frantic summer but we are very happy with the final song. And while the song is great but you should start by watching the Making of.. video.


Thanks to all the mums, dads and babies who helped with the project. We couldn’t have done it with our small army of tiny music consultants.

Please let us know if it makes your little ones happy too.

Slowed down baby laughter and tears

We are a little bit early for Halloween but I thought I would share these with you. The spooky consequences of slowing down or shifting the pitch of babies laughter and tears until they sound a bit like adults. The results are unsettling to say the least.

First off a friend found a pitch adjusted version of a baby crying. You can listen to it here but be warned it is very weird and affecting. Almost as if the anguish of infancy has been enlarged to become the existential lament of a full grown adult. (You have been warned!)

Naturally, this had me wondering what slowed down baby laughter would sound like. The same friend obliged by making this sound file of a slowly laughing baby. Worringly, it sounds a bit like sobbing too. Which is interesting in itself since laughter and tears are the first communicative sounds that babies can make. However, when slowed down a little less baby laughter sounds surprisingly normal.

The original full speed version is here.

And then there’s this little one:

I think he sounds a lot like legendary British comedian Sid James