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Christmas Cheer Media Music

Automatic Christmas Music 295

Posted by michael
from the rated-m-for-muzak dept.
crispinalt writes "Just in time for the holiday season, Brian Whitman, the creator of Eigenradio, has had his computers compose the 'statistically optimal' Christmas music in A Singular Christmas, a freely downloadable MP3 album. A bank of computers listened to as much Christmas music as they could handle, and then learned their own true meaning of holiday cheer. Enjoy!"
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Automatic Christmas Music

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  • by Quebec (35169) * on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:02PM (#11117676) Homepage
    I listened to it and well...

    it's a bit creepy, although it could reflect how I sometimes feel in the middle of the Christmas rush.
    • More Christmas music which sounds just like all other Christmas music.

      This is what I would call an example of "a solution in search of a problem."
      • Well, the problem could be: "How do I get more chrismas music to annoy^Wenjoy customers in my shop without having to pay money to the RIAA?"

        Or maybe the problem is: "How do I get a story on slashdot?" :-)
    • This is just what we need around Christmas. Something else to boost the suicide rate.
      This sounds like the soundtrack to the aftermath of WWIII!!!

      "Music for children to scream in their sleep by."

  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:02PM (#11117678) Homepage
    Hmm, I don't know if any of you will be able to actually listen to this "music" but it certainly isn't worth wasting your time and bandwith to try. Expecting something more like "music" I downloaded it at work and at home before the story posted to the front page for everyone...

    To my surprise it is quite "infantile". What I mean when I say "infantile" is that it sounds like a 9 month old baby banging on the keys randomly until you want to duct tape their hands together (see 02 - Mountain noel for an example of this).

    03 - Faithful clear is certainly "clear" as it is basically the same tone for 2:31. Really holidayish, thanks! Expecting 13 - Cherry misfortune to perhaps be exactly the opposite I listened intently three times hoping to catch a glimpse of the artistry that would cause this story to be posted to Slashdot. I didn't find it.

    Needless to say it won't exactly be a Merry Christmas for Brian Whitman and his computers and I doubt they will be making any money anytime soon if they continue to put out work of this "caliber"...

    Brian, perhaps "17 - Silent night" should just be a blank MP3 that goes on for 2:34. I think that one would be the most popular.
  • by jdray (645332) * on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:03PM (#11117688) Homepage Journal
    1. Spread catnip on organ keys
    2. Add two cats and a recorder
    3. ???
    4. Profit!!
  • From server to rubble in 2.5 seconds.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...of fruitcake.
    • by east coast (590680) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:05PM (#11117731)
      All Christmas music is the aural equivalent of fruit cake.
      • you mean, you have hurling contests with it?

        /they do, know you. with the fruitcakes. really.

      • I would say that you should give Trans-Siberian Orchestra a listen. While not all of their songs are completely amazing, some are simply beautiful.
        • I would say that you should give Trans-Siberian Orchestra a listen.

          Mind you this was years ago so I may be mistaking something but...

          I've heard snippits of TSO. I can't fault people for liking it but it leaves me with the same kinda dread I feel when I hear the likes of Mannheim Steamroller and the likes of the Windham Hill crew going at the Christmas theme.

          Again, I'm not saying it's bad, it's certainly talented but I just can't get into it.

          Now maybe if Tangerine Dream did a XMas album around 1976 I'd
      • Yah, and the part that sucks is when -- like fruit cake -- you get bits stuck in your teeth, and you can't get the pieces out!

        Seriously. At my ultra corporate contract gig, someone had decorated his cube with a quite elaborate setup, including the music -- his laptop kicks out the SAME FOUR SONGS ALL DAY LONG, while he goes off to cookie meetings and such. It's DRIVING ME INSANE!

        And then I sing Frank Sinatra's Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to myself on the way to my car...
  • by lilmouse (310335) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:05PM (#11117727)
    I work at Rockefeller Center in NYC - the music is starting to drive me mad!! The *last* thing I need is people finding ways to optimize the torture!

    --LWM
    • by Jerf (17166) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:12PM (#11117819) Journal
      It was strange watching A Charlie Brown Christmas last night, which is in large part a polemic against the commercialization of Christmas... from 1965.

      It was immediately followed by an ad for Kohl's Christmas sale, Mervyn's (I think) Christmas sale, and a Christmas sale at a local car dealership. (Along with a couple of other commercials that weren't Christmas.)

      I'm not sure I'd really want to advertise my Christmas specials during or immediately following the airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
      • by ender- (42944) <doubletwist@fear ... in.net minus cat> on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:29PM (#11118059) Homepage Journal
        I'm not sure I'd really want to advertise my Christmas specials during or immediately following the airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

        No, but it proves that most people probably just watch the pretty cartoons, and have no concept of the meaning of what they've just watched. Because you KNOW that most of them watch the show, then said, "Oooh, Mervyn's is having a sale!".

        ender-
      • On a related note, the soundtrack album [allmusic.com] by the Vince Guaraldi Trio is about the only Christmas music that I find tolerable.
      • I'm amazed that after all these years, A Charlie Brown Christmas is still on the air. Even if the advertisers are cynical, at least the show has some heart left.

        It is the only "Holiday" special on broadcast television I know of that quotes from Luke's gospel on the subject of Christmas.

        JoAnn

      • by Anonymous Cowtard (573891) on Friday December 17, 2004 @03:17PM (#11118669)
        And, according to the Wikipedia entry on the Christmas special [wikipedia.org], it was actually sorta commerialized in nature to begin with:

        "However, the special has not been seen in its original, uncut form since its original telecast in 1965. The opening and closing credits contain references to Coca-Cola, the show's original sponsor (the main titles have Linus and Snoopy crashing into a Coca-Cola sign, while the final end credit mentions "Merry Christmas from your local Coca-Cola bottler"). Years later, the FCC imposed sanctions preventing sponsor references in the context of a story (especially children's programming), which is why these elements (as well as several seconds of other footage) have not been seen lately on television, even on home video."

        I've never heard that before, so I'm not guaranteeing that someone hasn't imparted their own imagined occurence to Wikipedia.
      • Oops, I seem to have missed on the reply link. This was intended to go under this message [slashdot.org], which actually says something about commercialization :-)

    • "the music is starting to drive me mad!!"

      Might as well go all the way [cthulhulives.org] then.

      Seriously though, it's awfully fun to be able to sing "antidote" lyrics to the incredibly sappy tunes that have become commercialized to the point of mindless oblivion.

      The other night in a shopping mall when I might have otherwise been cringing at the seasonal Muzak, I was instead happily humming about Shoggoths, Fishmen and the Yog-Sothoth.

      Put everything in a whole new perspective. :-)

      (Absolutely no connection to Cthu

    • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Friday December 17, 2004 @03:14PM (#11118634) Journal
      I try my hardest to avoid holiday music this time of the year.

      I then purposefully listen to and sing Christmas songs on hot summer days.

      Puts a whole new perspective into things.
  • by l3v1 (787564) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:06PM (#11117742)
    I can't listen to this stuff, maybe someone in the first few moved it instead of copying, so please put it back :)

    Geez, we, the /. crowd, all them servers are belong to us :7

  • just give me Adam Sandler & the Chipmunks
  • by CharonX (522492) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:07PM (#11117747) Journal
    I for one greet our new Christmas-song listening computerized Overlords.
  • by FerretFrottage (714136) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:07PM (#11117748)
    all is gone, all the bytes
    round platters spinning away
    IT admins going "what the hey"
    Thrash in heavenly peace, thrash your drives to pieces.

    • <SONG melody="The Christmas Song">
      Servers roasting on an open link
      Slashdot poking at your site
      HTML being posted online,
      And usage spikes on CPUs...

      Everybody knows a story with an active link
      Helps to light those blinkenlites
      Though it's been said, many times many ways
      Merry Slashdotting... to you...
      </SONG>
    • by maxwell demon (590494) on Friday December 17, 2004 @03:55PM (#11119093) Journal
      Clicking through the link to a server there to stay,
      Eating all the bandwidth up, and laughing all the way.
      There will be no more response to http requests,
      The slashdot crowd has once again done the server bandwidth test!

      Slashdot hits, slashdot hits, slashdot all around,
      Oh what fun is it to melt a server to the ground!
      Slashdot hits, slashdot hits, slashdot all around,
      Oh what fun is it to melt a server to the ground!

      ---

      I'm dreaming of a big bandwidth,
      That can resist the slashdot crowd.
      May your days be merry and bright,
      And may all your servers survive tonight.

      ---

      Oh the slashdot effect is frightful,
      But the story is so delightful,
      And since we have the link to go:
      Down it go, down it go, down it go!

      It doesn't show signs of stopping
      And I've bought some corn for popping
      The bandwidth is turned way down low
      Down it go, down it go, down it go!

      When we finally kiss goodnight
      To the server out in the click-storm,
      The server will no more be allright,
      But at least it will really be warm.

      The server is slowly dying,
      And my dear, it's access-denying,
      But as long, as we love clicking so,
      Down it go, down it go, down it go!
  • Grr (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bigberk (547360)
    More Christmas music? No thanks. I was hanging out at the liquor store yesterday (hooray for holiday wine) and was talking to some of the store employees. Although I insisted they shut off that fscking music, they said in fact it's piped in from head office. This seems to be the case with many stores these days; Christmas music is just piped in. Apparently it has a positive effect on sales, as people have been trained to associate Christmas music with opening their wallets.

    It aint about religion, boy, it's
    • I was at Second Cup once and heard this really cool song, so I asked one of the employees "cool music, is this [perky female with guitar]?" He looked at me like I'd grown a second head, and informed me he had no way of knowing what was being played.

      Corporate coffee shops suck :-(
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:09PM (#11117785)
    but how can he post these?!? MP3s are illegal. mit's gonna have is ass. he should be ashamed for robbing profits from a desperate industry
    • M., Rand O. has already filed a suit for copyright infringement.
    • It's a real shame hat some people honestly think that MP3s are illegal now. They have heard so much about P2P networks and people getting sued that they assume that MP3s are illegal... I've legally purchased thousands of MP3s I tell them, but they still don't believe... sad really.
  • Not really new (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CharonX (522492) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:09PM (#11117787) Journal
    Not really new I think.
    They already use this technique to churn out new Boybands and Reality TV shows - at least that's the only way I can explain them. :)
  • UHF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso (153703) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:10PM (#11117803) Homepage Journal
    You know, sometimes slashdot reminds me of that old Weird Al movie UHF:

    Stanley Spadowski: Who wants to take a drink from the fire hose!
    *Kid gets knocked up against the wall by the water pressure*

    Slashdot is the water pressure.
  • Is it just me or does anyone else think it's a bit weird to have a computer pick out everything in our lives? Do we really need a computer to tell us what music we like to listen to? I don't think so.
  • my kingdom for a torrent...

    this would be a perfect use for a torrent... wget has just about stopped, yet again... good job I've got infinite retries set...

  • Uh, not that I'm desperate or anything, but are there any mirrors?
    • I don't have a mirror, but I've had a streaming version on my radioblog for a couple of weeks. http://www.daltonrooney.com/radio.blog/index.php?a utoplay=1

      Cheers,
      Dalton
  • by ToadMan8 (521480) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:16PM (#11117878)
    Students at Miami left today; I have about 140 megabits to lay waste to if someone would like to give it to me (scp or something) you can IM me at ToadMan8. I kinda want to see if I can /. the University.
  • Mirror Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by madweb (633001) <tim@madw[ ]org ['eb.' in gap]> on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:17PM (#11117896) Homepage

    The server has taken a holiday, so here's a mirror as a gift!

    http://www.madweb.org/A_Singular_Christmas.zip [madweb.org]

    Have fun killing my bandwidth. ;)

  • I wasn't able to download the music it was slashdotted to quickly, even the mirror couldnt snag it quick enough...

    http://www.mirrordot.org/ [mirrordot.org]
  • by StressGuy (472374) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:20PM (#11117942)
    has to be Barbera Streisand's frenetic in-your-face version of Jingle Bells that always makes my eyeballs bleed whenever I hear it. ....but your taste may vary...

  • by ion_ (176174)

    Ctrl+Alt+Del got it right in the "Video Games Don't Make People Violent..." [ctrlaltdel-online.com] strip. :-)

    I wonder how soon is the RIAA going to claim he committed a copyright infringement by processing the music with a neural network (presumedly) and publishing the results?

    I also wonder how many software patents he infringed on by implementing the program(s)... Y'know, math isn't everyone's privilege.

  • by Perianwyr Stormcrow (157913) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:24PM (#11118000) Homepage
    The album should be called "A Christmas In Computer Hell" or maybe "Heilige Fucked Up Buzz Box Nacht"
  • You know what's statistically optimal?

    The unit probability of a dude who writes computer programs that can compose their own music not having the bandwidth in place for a proper slashdotting.

    HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A^ytR^%}}}}}}}}}}}
  • Crap. I'm downloading it. It's like the big red button with a sign that says DO NOT PUSH. Well, now I HAVE to even though I know it will only lead to a dark and scarey place ;)
    • Oh, how long can trusty Cadet Enigmals1 hold out?
      How can he possibly resist the diabolical urge to push the button that could erase his very existence?
      Will his tortured mind give in to it's uncontrollable desires?
      Can he withstand the temptation to push the button, that even now, beckons him ever closer?
      Will he succumb to the maddening urge to eradicate history, at the mere push of a single button?
      The beautiful shiny button.
      The jolly candy-like button.
      Will he hold out, folks?
      Can he hold out?
      With Apol
  • theres been a recent study at some uc college (forgot which) showing that tonal music promotes the growth of plants (atleast the species tested) and atonal music actually shows signs of inhibiting said growth.

    to do a mathematical analysis of tonal and atonal music, there isn't a significant difference (atleast with good atonal music, which is hard to come by) suggesting the difference lies within our biology.

    the reason this music seems so repulsive is likely the fact that the computer only studied the mus

    • I've studied music! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by scottblascocomposer (697248) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:47PM (#11118332) Homepage
      Actually, its fantastically difficult (if not impossible) to write good or interesting music without using dissonant chords! Dissonances are necessary to make a harmonic progression interesting, whether they are dissonances between harmonies, or within them.

      Um, let's see, what else? Ah, the tritone (augmented 4th/diminished 5th) was the Devil's tone, and it was in fact essentially verboten for some time, but has certainly been in wide use both in and out of the church for the last 300 years at least. Oh, and Mozart wrote a string quartet which was dubbed "Dissonances" that very successfully makes dissonant harmonies a fundamental part of it's materials.

      I'm a pretty competent musician, a composer no less, and I couldn't imagine keeping a musical line interesting without the use of dissonance at some level--it really is not feasible. Its like trying to discern depth without light and shadows... contrastless mush.

    • I saw an episode of MythBusters where they play different types of music to plants and test how it affected their growth, Heavy Metal beat classical music in increasing the yield in Pea plants.
      This brings about the question whether heavy metal is more atonnal than classical music.
      Food for thought....

      Adhish
  • by jonesvery (121897) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:47PM (#11118326) Homepage Journal
    Reminds me of the Most Wanted Song / Most Unwanted Song [diacenter.org] project that Komar & Melamid did in conjunction with Dave Soldier. Based on survey responses, they created songs that (statistically speaking, of course) should appeal to 72 +/- 12% of listeners (most popular), and one that would appeal to fewer than 200 people in the entire world (least popular).

    And no, they really didn't take it that seriously , they knew that their sampling and control methods weren't all that strict, and were aware that the resulting music isn't likely to actually generate responses that meet the projected stats. :)

    Komar and Melamid also did a "most wanted painting [diacenter.org]" project, which has the actual survey results and resulting paintings available online.

  • You insensitive clod!
  • This is the most terrifying thing anyone could play on christmas... children would run away screaming!

    What the hell is MIT thinking??

    I could develop better midi music with a random number generator!
  • That's 41:36... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spamfiltre (656000)
    of my life that I'll never get back. How is it that this not-quite-random noise is considered worthy of note on /.? If it were of decent artisitc quality, I could see why it might make news, but I could churn out garbage like this on my Apple IIe in elementary school.
  • by ToadMan8 (521480) on Friday December 17, 2004 @03:05PM (#11118535)
    http://www.users.muohio.edu/toaddyjm/slashdot/A_Si ngular_Christmas.zip2 [muohio.edu]
    Let's see if you guys can break the webserver! I think it'll survive, personally, but many others have said that in the past ;).

    Thanks to hfcs http://slashdot.org/~hfcs/ [slashdot.org] for the file!
  • From the title I was expecting an app that pulls down christmas music from usenet and automatically adds new tracks to a playlist as they come in. By the time the first track finishes playing, you'll already have a good dozen or two queued up.
  • for i in `seq 1 17`; do wget http://eigenradio.media.mit.edu/xmas2004/A_Singula r_Christmas_$i.mp3;done;

    It works far better than anything else I've seen, since nobody has a torrent.
  • I just don't find this kind of work very compelling. It's essentially just loosely structured data mapping, and when the results are unlistenable like this, what's the point?

    Maybe this guy is just having some fun, but these projects need more depth to be successful. It's not very interesting as a conceptual piece or an aesthetic piece. The art is sorta drowning in math and code here.

    -paul
  • by Spackler (223562)


    This thing is to the ears, what goatse is to the bottom.

  • by Sajma (78337) on Friday December 17, 2004 @09:07PM (#11121901) Homepage
    But the stuff posed in this article will give you a headache.

    Instead, check out David Cope's Experiments in Musical Intelligence [ucsc.edu]. You can download mp3s [ucsc.edu] of some great pieces modeled after great composers. And the computer science behind it is also cool: Cope's approach involved developing a grammar for music, such that the generated pieces followed this grammar. Much easier on the ears :)
    • If I remember correctly, Cope's methods were vaguely similar to Mister Whitman's in the very broadest sense, in that EMI created a large probabilitive database to analyze the connections between melodic and harmonic events. Obviously, this database would be 'calibrated' to the style of the music given as input. I never studied EMI, so I don't know how deep the simulation of pseudogrammar went, but it certainly produced some interesting results. One year in orchestra we actually performed a faux-Mozart ov

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