Eurovision 2018 finals musically speaking

We studied the genre, instrumentation and mood of each competitor in this years Eurovision song contest finals. Our infographics compare them to the TOP 3 countries (Israel, Cyprus and Austria) to bring a summary of the key musical attributes that led to success in this year’s competition.

Sound type & key

42% of the music in the finals incorporated a mixture of acoustic and electronic music, while 31% sticked only to acoustic and 26% to electronic sounds. Electronic music elements are essential for the some of the music genres but acoustic elements are great for warming up the song and making it more approachable.

A big portion of the finalists used a major key in their music, while only 19% used minor and 23% both keys. Major key is commonly used in the history of Eurovision to highlight the fun atmosphere. Additionally, minor key songs have not proven to create success in the past. Interestingly this year, the first and third ranked entries utilized both keys.

Genre

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the majority of Eurovision final entries concentrated on the pop genre. Other popular styles varied from uptempo electronic dance music to calmer ballad and singer/songwriter style renditions.

Moods

The majority of the finalists sticked to traditional nuances of pop music, as danceability, confidence and emotionality were the most highlighted moods. Optimistic and aspiring emotions were also included in the most common elements, like in Austria’s r&b flavored song that reached third place.

Instrumentation

According to our research, it is safe to say the overall beat and sound of the final was created synths and drum machine. This is another indication of the electronic pop dominance as over 3 out of 5 songs incorporated the mentioned instruments along with synth bass. From acoustic side, traditional instruments like piano and electric guitar also made frequent appearances. Additionally, some songs, including the runner-up Cyprus, utilized world music instruments to some extent in their compositions.

The purpose of this research is to highlight music as the key to our emotions. When the right music meets the right context, important messages and feelings can reach more people. Even though Eurovision is about more than just music, it is a great demonstration of this effect in practice.

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