Music Technology

How to illustrate music and process – The NYT and Disney

Accompanying an otherwise rote Jon Pareles piece about how Diplo and Skrillex made a hit with Justin Bieber, is a remarkable video. Alongside interview snippets of the three artists run graphics of the various sounds. The graphics change as the sounds change and as the track is explained and built over the course of the video. It’s a great example of using a visual medium to explicate audio. I can’t embed it here, so click this link to see it:…

Genetic Data Tools Reveal How Pop Music Evolved In The US

In modern societies, cultural change seems ceaseless. The flux of fashion is especially obvious for popular music. While much has been written about the origin and evolution of pop, most claims about its history are anecdotal rather than scientific in nature. To rectify this we investigate the US Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 2010. Using Music Information Retrieval (MIR) and text-mining tools we analyse the musical properties of ~17,000 recordings that appeared in the charts and demonstrate quantitative trends…

Bad brains: some people are physically incapable of enjoying music

The Verge reports: For most people, the mere suggestion that a favorite song fails to evoke an emotional response in another human being sounds preposterous. Sure, that person might not like that song as much as you do, but they’ll definitely feel something — right? Not necessarily, says Josep Marco-Pallerés, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Barcelona and lead author of a new study that explores why some people feel indifferent to music. “Music isn’t rewarding for them, even…

How the 808 drum machine got its cymbal, and other tales from music’s geeky underbelly

Trent Woble at TheVerge has a fascinating story from the NAMM convention on Don Lewis, a pioneer of electronic instruments and a consultant to Roland. The feature then goes on to highlight a few of the out of the way innovations on display at the convention. Look at all those knobs! See all those dials! Share

Fancy yourself a DJ? Don’t have space for gear? PDJ Portable Disc Jockey is for you

The annual NAAM show is on, and that means all sorts of vendors showing all sorts of new ways to play the Electric Slide to grannies at weddings. Engadget has details of an interesting hand-held mixer featuring touchscreens and buttons both. Hit the link below for more details and hands-on video. PDJ Portable Disc Jockey is a complete DJ system that fits in your pocket, we go hands-on video. Share

‘Boil the Frog’ – From Kraftwerk to Professor Longhair in 14 steps (via Sha Na Na)

Here’s another fun way to waste time on the web. Choose two artists and Boil the Frog will link them for you. The coder’s blog post tells you how it works. Reading that post explains how it took 14 steps from both Kraftwerk to Professor Longhair AND Roska to Professor Longhair. Each reload gave a slightly different path, mostly using different songs from the same artists. Asking to go from one long tail artist to another quite different long tail…

Is this the very first DJ system?

In 1903 French engineer Leon Gaumont was granted patents for loudspeaker systems to go with his sound on disc talking films, which used one of Berliner’s Gramophones. In 1910 Gaumont demonstrated his Chronophone system, which synchronised sound and film, at the Gaumont Palace in Paris. The compressed-air amplifier, whiuch he called the Eglephone, was just a part of the whole system. The volume was enough for an audience of 4000. Initially the longest moving picture that could be made with…

The Great MP3 Bitrate Experiment

PoOPlist readers may or may not agree with Merlin Mann’s hatred of the mere existence of CDs, but even if you buy physical artifacts carrying your music, you probably also rip them into a more portable and virtual realm. So, how best to do it. The Great MP3 Bitrate Experiment. (Coding Horror) I use LAME 320 VBR for mp3 and then if I really really like the disc I’ll put it into FLAC. Share

If I see one more story about how cool vinyl LP records are, I’m going to scream

Of course, I might be a little bit jaded. Thanks to all who came to the Huge! Insane! Memorial Day Weekend Music Yardsale, it was much appreciated. I sold 3 turntables and might have sold many more had I had more available. Stories like this help, of course, but calling things cool seems to imply that they were once uncool. The Secrets of a High-Quality Vinyl Record – (possibly paywalled) Share