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Computerized Critics Could Find the Music You'll Like


music performer

Software developed at the University of California, San Diego can assign a genre to hard-to-categorize music.

Credit: Michael Ochs / Getty Images

University of California, San Diego artificial intelligence researcher Luke Barrington is developing software that can analyze a piece of music and compile information about it that could be useful in making a playlist. The software can assign the music a genre or give it subjective descriptions such as whether or not a track is "funky."

Barrington wants to create a system that can distinguish between different styles of music within a single song. For example, if a user chooses a song with a mellow verse and a loud chorus, the system would be able to recommend songs that fit that pattern.

However, before software can analyze a piece of music, it must understand what distinguishes one genre of music from another. Early approaches to this problem used speech recognition technology such as the mel-frequency cepstral coefficients approach, which is useful for determining which instruments are being used in a piece.

However, the University of Sao Paolo's Luciano da F. Costa is using rhythm to assign a genre to music, which he says is simple to extract and is independent of instruments or vocals. After analyzing a collection of MIDI files, da F. Costa's team was able to establish models of the note transitions characteristic of rock, blues, reggae, and bossa nova songs.

From New Scientist
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