Musicology

For some reason, I’m a little behind on the newest developments in streaming radio online, so I only recently discovered Pandora.com, the online radio station from the Music Genome Project (brilliant title that excited my inner geek). My roommate was listening to it this weekend, so I decided to check it out.

From Pandora.com:

The Music Genome Project [is] the most sophisticated taxonomy of musical information ever collected. It represents over eight years of analysis by our trained team of musicologists, and spans almost a century of music (and soon several centuries!).

Each song in the Music Genome Project is analyzed using up to 400 distinct musical characteristics by a trained music analyst. These attributes capture not only the musical identity of a song, but also the many significant qualities that are relevant to understanding the musical preferences of listeners. The typical music analyst working on the Music Genome Project has a four-year degree in music theory, composition or performance, has passed through a selective screening process and has completed intensive training in the Music Genome’s rigorous and precise methodology. To qualify for the work, analysts must have a firm grounding in music theory, including familiarity with a wide range of styles and sounds. All analysis is done on location.

First: Wow. Second: I don’t know if I’d be good as a music analyst. Sure, I love music, but I don’t know that I’d want to deconstruct “Lady Marmalade” to every one of the 400 musical attributes that they use to analyze songs. Knowing the way my brain works, I’d have a difficult time enjoying the song after I break it down to its chord structure and multiple uses of “Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”

Although let me say this: it’s eerily scary how much the songs that pop up in my Pandora channel are similar to the ones I have on my iTunes library. I typed “Dave Matthews Band” and song after song after song have pretty much hit the mark for me. It’s not quite an unsolicited endorsement, but it’s a pretty cool site.

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