Music

29 posts
Defining ’90s music

In search of songs that define music in the 1990s, Matt Daniels and Ilia Blinderman for The Pudding look for songs that that Gen Z still recognizes. Also, the songs that are mostly foreign to the younger generation: In 1999, “Wild Wild West” was the song of the summer. Yet it is fading far faster than any other ’90s hit with comparable starting popularity. Twenty years ago, it was inescapable....

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Remix and make music with audio from the Library of Congress

Brian Foo is the current Innovator-in-Residence at the Library of Congress. His latest project is Citizen DJ, which lets you explore and remix audio from the Library: It invites the public to make hip hop music using the Library’s public audio and moving image collections. By embedding these materials in hip hop music, listeners can discover items in the Library’s vast collections that they likely would never have known existed....

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Looking for generational gaps in music

Inspired by the genre of YouTube videos where younger people listen to older music, The Pudding is running a project to find the generational music gaps. Enter your age, songs play, and you say if you know the song or not. The aggregate results are shown as more people listen. For example, the above shows the percentage of people in a given age group who did not recognize the listed...

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Neural network generates convincing songs by famous singers

Jukebox from OpenAI is a generative model that makes music in the same styles as many artists you’ll probably recognize: To train this model, we crawled the web to curate a new dataset of 1.2 million songs (600,000 of which are in English), paired with the corresponding lyrics and metadata from LyricWiki. The metadata includes artist, album genre, and year of the songs, along with common moods or playlist keywords...

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Testing the infinite monkey theorem

If you have a room of monkeys hitting keys on typewriters for an infinite amount of time, do you eventually end up with a Shakespeare play? For The Pudding, Russell Goldenberg and Amber Thomas put the infinite monkey theorem to the test directing the computer to randomly generate musical note patterns to match classic songs. All said and done, the point here isn’t the real numbers, but the faith that...

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Geography of FM radio

So get this. There are these things called radio stations that broadcast music using frequency modulation. They call it “FM radio.” You don’t download or stream the music, and you don’t get to choose what songs you want to hear right away, but sometimes you can call locally and request a song you like. It’s also free to listen to if you have this thing called a “radio.” In exchange,...

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Measuring pop music’s falsetto usage

Vox and Matt Daniels delved into falsetto in pop music over the years. Is falsetto a big trend now compared to the rest of the history? The process of finding the answer, noisy data and all, was just as interesting as the answer itself. Tags: falsetto, Matt Daniels, music, Vox

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Neural networks to generate music

Kyle McDonald describes some of the history and current research on using algorithms to generate music. On how David Cope incorporated Markov chains to aid in his work: In 1981 David Cope began working with algorithmic composition to solve his writers block. He combined Markov chains and other techniques (musical grammars and combinatorics) into a semi-automatic system he calls Experiments in Musical Intelligence, or Emmy. David cites Iannis Xenakis and...

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Charting the similarity of summer songs

Popular summer songs have had a bubbly, generic feel to them the past several years, but it wasn’t always like that. Styles used to be more diverse, and things might be headed back in that direction. Sahil Chinoy and Jessia Ma charted song fingerprints over the years for a musical comparison. Turn up your speakers or put on your headphones for the full experience. The song and music video snippets...

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Finding the Beatle who wrote each song using statistical models

There’s been some disagreement about who wrote “In My Life” by The Beatles, so researchers did what any normal person does and tried to model the songs of Paul McCartney and John Lennon: Mark Glickman, senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University, and Jason Brown, Professor of Mathematics at Dalhousie University, created a computer model which broke down Lennon and McCartney songs into 149 different components to determine the musical...

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