Music taste in listening and composition : software are made for composers and their listeners

Music taste research framework

When you search for ‘music taste’ on the web you directly finds an avalanche of scientific documents, where music preferences are linked to18th and 19th centuries criteria like age, gender and social belongings as well as related to new important elements of 20th and 21st century life like shopping behaviour and tourism, the use of social networks, new music business models and music technology, music styles (which is not a new theme however it is now more linked to personality and individuality than before). It means that research is made in a pluridisciplinary framework.

An algorithm to link words related to taste, music sounds and music scores

I write for musicians so I will focus on musicologists and musicians points of view. Musicologists are interested in semantics and when they talk about ‘taste’ it is all about music and… catering. A paper called A composition algorithm based on crossmodal taste-music correspondences’ (Mesz, Sigman, Trevisan) investigates ‘the relations between music and a narrow and bounded domain of semantics: the words and concepts referring to taste sensations’ because for them ‘taste words’ are ‘consistently mapped to musical parameters. Bitter is associated with low-pitched and continuous music (legato), salty is characterized by silences between notes (staccato), sour is high pitched, dissonant and fast and sweet is consonant, slow and soft’.

métronome (bleuté)

That research is not confined to sound in itself and includes applications to music scores. Why not? After all linking catering vocabulary to sheet music does not seem more surprising than linking it to sounds. Researchers put their heart into their work and they share that they developed and implemented an algorithm that creates flavored musical pieces. The algorithm applies a sequence of musical operations to an original improvisation, transforming it according to motives extracted from a large corpus of classic and popular songs.’ That algorithm lets to draw graphics. Specialists will read the complete research to know exactly how it works, I just mention that it is linked to MIDI files and databases (the corpus mentioned above).

Musicians tastes without catering : the case of contemporary music

Well maybe now it is time to leave the musical kitchen and think about solutions to develop taste for specific music styles ? For example contemporary music. It is not easy to develop a taste for that music because what is taught in music schools is generally music of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The reason is that educators estimate that the gap between composers and student plus listeners became too wide during the 20th century. And it is true. A specialist like Leonard Bernstein wrote a lot on that subject.

Once in 1964 a 18 weeks seminar was organized in San Diego, sponsored by the MENC (Contemporary Music Project for Creativity in Music Education). Compositional techniques were analyzed, lessons given, exercices done and students were invited to produce personal pieces.

Now it seems that it is not a frequent experience. Maybe music teachers will think about it in the future…

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Music taste and music software

It will be brief here: a professional music composition and notation software absolutely must help musicians to explore new music styles. Indeed, new taste appears during the career of a musician and even if one decides to represent one style only, having a look at other styles lets to understand better music in general.

As example of professional music composition and notation software, I will mention Pizzicato, Harmony and Counterpoint plus Alternative Notation. Pizzicato offers not less than 20 sheet music templates for 20 different music styles.You will find detailed information at http://www.arpegemusic.com (and a demo, complete user guides, …).

Musically,

Francoise Delsaux

Arpege Music

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