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Songwriting Science

ScoreAHit Web App – The Hit Equation

Well, now we can take the guess-work out of wondering if the songs we write will be hits… The science behind the ScoreAHit web app can be found here.  It’s all mathematics and formulae and “I’ve got algorithms”… here’s a very brief overview from the site:

The underlying assumption is that popular songs are similar with respect to a set of features that make them appealing to a majority of people. These features could then be exploited by Machine Learning algorithms in order to predict whether a song will rise to a high peak position in the chart. Machine Learning is a branch of Artificial Intelligence concerned with learning to perform a task based on examples — in this case learning to predict hit potential based on past hits and non-hits.

And here are the factors measured by the algorithm in a tag picture format:

Kudos to Dr. Tijl De Bie for his work on this… it looks like a lot of fun and I’m going to submit a song or two to the Songometer when I get the link by email invitation…

I’ll report back on whether I’ve got algorithm or not… May the Muse (and Math) be with me…

Daddy-Daughter Science Song

Check out this article from Real Science about a professional musician helping his 6th grade daughter with a science project by co-writing/producing/mixing a song about the Northern Lights – the good old Aurora Borealis – boy, probably broke the rhyming dictionary with that one! 

Here’s a sample lyric:

Blue and purple nitrogen
Aurora, you never know how much I adore yaʼ
My magnetic field of dreams
Making magic out of photon streams
Those endless nights in the northern lights
Aurora

Maggie, the 6th grader, talks about the song here:

 

I know that there’s math in song, but apparently there’s science too… May the Muse stay with this Daddy-Daughter team!

The Musical Brain

I read an article in our local weekly about producer Vanessa Dylyn (pictured left with Sting at McGill University) and her latest project, “which mixes neuroscience and music [and] examines what music can tell us about the human brain and the what the brain can tell us about music.”

Dylyn came across the book This is Your Brain on Music by Dr. Daniel Levitin (see my previous posts). She knew it would make the basis for a wonderful documentary straight away and I have to agree (and can’t wait to watch it).

CTV will be airing the documentary, The Musical Brain, this weekend (January 31, 2009 at 7 p.m.). Here is CTV’s description:

Using the research findings of leading medical experts, including Dr. Daniel Levitin (This is Your Brain on Music), the documentary examines the physical, psychological and emotional responses to music through a variety of tests on children and adults. ‘The Musical Brain’ also features candid interviews with Michael Bublé, Feist, Wyclef Jean and Sting who share what they have learned about the power of music in their lives.

In addition to discussing his passion for music, Sting puts his own musical mind to the test when he enters an fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine to have his brain scanned. Inspired by Dr. Daniel Levitin’s book, Sting undergoes tests to find out how music affects him on a physical and emotional level. Using state-of-the-art technology, ‘The Musical Brain’ demonstrates how Sting responds to various types of music – complex and simple – and what his musical brain reveals about him.

“Music is a gateway to emotion and memory, pleasure and intellectual stimulation throughout our lives,” says writer and director Christina Pochmursky. “‘The Musical Brain’follows Sting on his journey of discovery into his own musical brain, and also explores how music can define each stage of our lives.”

“This riveting documentary sheds light on the human musical experience and how science is teaching us more about it,” says Bob Culbert, Vice-President of CTV Documentaries. “The stories shared by the participating artists will resonate with viewers who understand the power of music in their own lives.”

May the Muse (and your brain) be with you…

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