The Happy Song

Imogen Heap was commissioned by C&G Baby Club with a brief to explore writing a song, that would ultimately make babies happier! Loving the idea she said yes as also at the time, Imogen's daughter was nearly two, so Scout (her daughter) could be her lead collaborator! Scout sang a melody while in Imogen's studio (later discovered to be Horsey Horsey, don't you stop) that inspired the early beginnings of The Happy Song along with her current intrigue in all things transport. Then, working with Goldsmith University, the music at various stages was scientifically tested with a group of 26 babies in order to find the right tempo, melody and appealing samples.
A bit of trivia, Scout's dad Michael, whistles the tune and sings backup in the chorus' along with Imogen's mum and a few friends in the final chorus!


Written, arranged, performed, produced and mixed by Imogen Heap.
Published by Megaphonic Publishing and Felt Publishing - (2016) Megaphonic Records
For information on use, please contact info@imogenheap.com

CREDITS

Song Recording

Vocals, programming, synths, clarinet, guitar, mbira, field recording - Imogen Heap
Percussions, toys, giggles, roars and wows - Florence “Scout” Heap-Lebor
Whistling and backing vocals - Michael Lebor
Backing vocals - Mary-Anne Paterson, Erica Doerr, Lesley Abrey, Alexis Michallek
Assistant engineer - Alexis Michallek
Studio Manager - Alexis Michallek
Recorded at The Hideaway, London
Mastering - Simon Heyworth

Research

Lauren Stewart - Music Psychologist
Caspar Addyman - Developmental Psychology
Goldsmith University

Artwork

Sleeve design – Andy Carne
Illustration - Imogen Heap

  • Recording credits

    Vocals, clarinet, mbira, guitar, drums:

    Microphone: Neuman TLM 103
    Pre-amp: Avalon Vt-737SP
    Apollo 16 interface

    Sound Stems:

    Abigale’s Horn (1955 Morris Oxford) recorded by Imogen Heap.
    Scout’s giggles and vocalisations recorded by Imogen Heap.
    Linda the cat purring recorded by Alexis Michallek.
    Rocket launch sound from US Govt agency.
    Bike Bell While Riding recorded by Iwan Gabovitch.
    Lily the Grumpy pomeranian recorded by Robert Ponto.
    Hair dryer, monkey, hiccups and sneezes collected by parents of panel babies.
    Propeller airplane (Cessna) and trains from Digiffects library.

    Software Instruments and DAW:

    Ableton Live
    Plugins from Waves Gold Bundle and Focusrite D2/D3
    Box Of tricks by Soniccouture
    Native Instruments Action Strings

LYRICS

Bring bring on the bicycle
Beep beep in the car
Ping ping a submarine
phew phew helicopter
A choo choo train
an aeroplane
Or whee down the slide

I just adore 'dore 'dore you every day more
Wherever we are

So up in the sky
And deep in the ocean
Through valleys and hills
Away we go

Bring bring on the bicycle
Beep beep in the car
Ping ping a submarine
Phew phew helicopter
A choo choo train
an aeroplane
A rocket to the stars!

There’s a dance dance dance going on in my heart
Wherever we are

So up in the sky
And deep in the ocean
Through valleys and hills
Away we go

You oo oo little monkey
who’s staying up late
Who purrs like a cat when they get their own way
Who then turns into a lion and let’s out a ROAR!!!

I love love love you every day more
Whatever’s in store

Wooo up in the sky
And deep in the ocean
Through valleys and hills
Away we go

RESEARCH FACTS

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    Heart Rate

    Because babies’ heart rates are much faster, the music ought to be more uptempo than we would expect. It was set at 168BPM during the development of the song.

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    Melodies

    Four melodies (two fast, two slow) created by Imogen were tested by the scientists on 26 babies (aged 6 to 12 months). As predicted by the researchers, most babies seemed to prefer the fastest melody.

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    Sounds

    Parents and fans were asked to submit sounds that make babies happy such as "boos", raspberries, sneezing, animal sounds and baby laughters that she then received and chose a few to feature and craft into The Happy Song.

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    Plosives

    Babies respond better to plosive vocal sounds ("ba, pa, da") than sonorants ("la"). Imogen wrote the lyrics making sure there would be plenty of them along transportation sounds, "beep beep", "ping ping".

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    Parents interaction

    Imogen wrote the song to tell a story parents could enjoy in order to share the experience with their children about their love, "wherever they are". Also, writing a melody that could be sung easily and not just experienced in the recorded form.

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    Tempo test

    After a last round of tests, the tempo was shifted from 168 to 163BPM as scientists found it gave more time to parents and babies to respond to the lyrics.

Imogen Heap - C&G Baby Club

Video

Here is the video made by C&G Baby Club. This is not Imogen's original song, as this version features extra sound clips and is very low quality.
The Happy Song, original version, can be found on all platforms.
Imogen is looking for someone to make an animated video for the Happy Song. You can reach out at info@imogenheap.com.
Here the making of The Happy Song.

Listen to The Happy Song