A text mining approach to the use of “groove” in everyday language

Jan Stupacher*, Toni Bechtold, Olivier Senn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


When speaking about music, the term groove can refer to objective qualities, such as rhythmic patterns, or to subjective experiences, such as the pleasurable urge to move to the music. However, the mere juxtaposition of objective musical causes and subjective psychological effects may be too simplistic to fully capture the multifaceted groove phenomenon. We therefore broaden the perspective of groove research by analyzing how people use the term groove in the everyday language of 970,220 comments on 155 YouTube music videos. The corresponding songs were previously rated on groove, operationalized as a pleasurable urge to move. Results show that groove terms were more likely to be used in comments on songs that received higher groove ratings. Resonating with the definition of groove as a pleasurable urge to move, groove terms were very likely to co-occur with movement terms, and comments mentioning groove expressed more positive sentiments. We also found that groove terms were predominantly used to describe objective musical qualities in comments on funk, soul, and R&B songs, suggesting that the use of groove is related to genre. In general, we demonstrate how text mining can be used to review existing definitions and gain new perspectives on current topics in music science.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Music
Pages (from-to)340-361
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • groove
  • language use
  • popular music
  • text mining
  • YouTube comments


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