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Algorithmic Sheet Music Analyzer

Analyzes patterns in digital sheet music
  [vote for,

For years I have been interested in composing music but I am frustrated when my skills fall short of my expectations.

I think I learn best by imitation sometimes, and often I try to think of a particular piece of music and come up with something similar but different. Usually, however, my mind gets tired of this and slips back into the original tune or goes off in a different direction entirely.

I know that algorithms, especially fractals, have been linked to patterns occurring in nature and in music. Software has been made that allows one to compose music by stringing together different sequences generated algorithmically and mapping them to different scales and instruments. That is to say, algorithms have been used to make music.

What I haven't seen, however, is software that does the reverse: find out what algorithms might be present in a given piece of music. This could be done by using a database of algorithms to generate sequences within the same domain as some part of the original sequence, and comparing with that part to see which is closer. Granted, this would be sort of flaky and take quite a bit of processing, but for short sequences I think it would be adequate.

Spacecoyote, Aug 12 2008

cgMusic http://codeminion.c...uters-create-music/
fun music generator [Spacecoyote, Aug 12 2008]

Fractal Nature of Music http://solomonsmusic.net/fracmus.htm
analyzes existing music for fractal-like structures. [wod_observer, Aug 13 2008]


       First, some philosophy. From Wikipedia, “Principle of Compositionality is the principle that the meaning of a complex expression is determined by the meanings of its constituent expressions and the rules used to combine them.” The study you propose is not unique to music and literature but is even present in many more fields including the more esoteric sciences.   

       First note that sheet music, midi, CDs, DVD, mp3s are just different codes and protocols of the same thing, waveforms (typically music). Most animals are good at detecting and recognizing patterns both in physical (sound, vibration), visual (light, light sequences,) but also in social engineering. Evern simple animals far exceed the capacity of computers. But at least we can teach computers to do the mundane looking for us!   

       You will have to describe your dithering algorithm technique better to get a bun. It sounds like curve matching (yet another science).   

       Pattern recognition, similar to what is described, is done all the time. It is done for all kinds of waveforms over all kinds of wavelengths. When done mathematically, it covers most all fields of physics (mechanical, electrical, thermal, etc) and is an important part of encryption and encryption recognition. Yes, they were sending secret messages in music as far back as WW2. Patterns even use it to predict the weather (or at least try to predict). SETI uses radio patterns to hunt down ET (really).   

       For an obscure example, this is how MRIs create images. Literally, when given a strong magnetic field and a short RF pulse, atoms sing in RF according to their spin. Location, timing, and their frequency reveal who (atom type), what (volume), and where (in 3d space). But in the case of MRIs, engineers already know what patterns to look for. They have to filter out unwanted patterns. And you are right, even when they already know the algorithm they are looking for, it’s not trivial software.   

       I have little doubt that music analysis was one of the first attempts at compositionality but it was mathematics that won the technical part of the race. They predicted the intricies of wave patterns long before anyone related these discoveries to sound. Still, they (scientists and engineers) haven’t published any master pieces. Even Bob Moog’s namesake analog synthesizers was discovered by accident.   

       Also, be careful using sheet music. Some of the older classics sound awful when played by computers. Computers can play anything you tell them too. These classics have scores containing erroneous notes that are impossible for humans to play correctly but according to Beethoven’s notes (loose translation) ‘…but will play it as intended in the attempt’, i.e. written intentionally wrong knowing the human will play it such that it sounds correct. I spent a week finding that out the hard way. That kind of data will throw your sequencer into a tizzy.
CwP, Aug 12 2008

       Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?
Spacecoyote, Aug 12 2008

       They might. When balancing your balanced checkbook, enter checks for 100 and -100. They are both wrong but the checkbook will still balance. Such are the mysteries of the universe.
CwP, Aug 12 2008

       According to Wikipedia, Mr. Babbage street music. Particularly organ grinders, saying “It is difficult to estimate the misery inflicted upon thousands of persons, and the absolute pecuniary penalty imposed upon multitudes of intellectual workers by the loss of their time, destroyed by organ-grinders and other similar nuisances”   

       Perhaps he was in need of the Algorithmic Sheet Music Analyzer
CwP, Aug 12 2008


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