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Digital Software Revolutionizes Our Relationship With Music


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Sonic Visualiser

Sonic Visualiser, developed at the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London, is a free program that produces a visual representation of music audio files. The software, which enables users to visually examine key changes, rhythms, tempos, and chords, makes it easier to develop a thorough understanding of individual elements of a piece of music and how those elements fit together.

Sonic Visualiser can compare different performances of the same piece, for example, or two different takes of the same song in the recording studio to see how they differ. "There's huge potential to find new ways of using digital technologies to revolutionize our relationship with music," says Queen Mary professor Mark Sandler. Sonic Visualiser can connect to the Web to access data on the piece being analyzed, including information on the performer, when the performer or similar artists will be performing in the area, and where to buy the music.

As the technology evolves, it will eventually be possible to identify other pieces with the same chord structure, time signature, tempo changes, and other musical similarities. Similarly, the Online Music Recognition and Search project at Queen Mary aims to use software to analyze the music a listener prefers and find digital music collections and download stores to offer similar pieces based on beat, chord progression, instrumentation, and other characteristics.

From Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
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