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Lennon or McCartney? Machine Learning Tries to Crack Disputed Beatles Authorship


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Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Researchers at Harvard University and Canada's Dalhousie University used machine learning to ascertain the authorship of disputed Beatles songs.

Credit: Getty

Researchers at Harvard University and Canada's Dalhousie University used machine learning to ascertain the authorship of disputed Beatles songs.

Over a three-year period, the team created an algorithm and applied it to an array of musical motifs taken from 70 songs co-authored by Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

The algorithm was able to distinguish tracks known to be written by one of the two musicians with 76% accuracy.

When applied to eight disputed songs or song segments, the algorithm found a number of the songs yielded a more than 90% match against Lennon's other works; one song was an 81% match for Lennon, with its bridge returning a 57% match for McCartney.

Harvard's Mark Glickman hopes the algorithm's statistical model finds use as "a blueprint for those wanting to follow changes in music over time."

From Financial Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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