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Chords To 1300 Songs Analyzed Statistically For Patterns 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the math-of-music dept.
First time accepted submitter hooktheory writes "We looked at the statistics gathered from 1300 choruses, verses, etc. of popular songs to discover the answer to a few basic questions about pop music. First we look at the relative popularity of different chords based on the frequency that they appear in the chord progressions of popular music. Then we begin to look at the relationship that different chords have with one another. To make quantitative statements about music you need to have data; lots of it. Guitar tab websites have tons of information about the chord progressions that songs use, but the quality is not very high. Just as important, the information is not in a format suitable for gathering statistics. So, over the past 2 years we've been slowly and painstakingly building up a database of songs taken mainly from the billboard 100 and analyzing them 1 at a time. At the moment the database of songs has over 1300 entries indexed. Knowing these patterns can give one a deeper more fundamental sense for how music works" This reminds me of the work done by two Rutgers grad students last year trying to find a formula for a hit song.
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Chords To 1300 Songs Analyzed Statistically For Patterns

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  • Interesting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @10:07PM (#40318405)
    Just what we need, a database for the RIAA to use to play Whack-A-Mole on upcoming songwriters for 'copyright infringement'. There are only so many chord progressions possible. This will allow the holders of the eternal copyright to sue somebody because the chord progression they wrote mirrors a song their grandparents heard in the womb and thus infringes.

    Yet another argument for 7 year copyrights. Too bad we can't convince our Congresscritters of this...
    • by sackbut (1922510)
      I don't think that chord progressions are subject to copyright. Otherwise mashups would not work so well, or Axis of Awesome could not do this (4 Chords) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpB_40hYjXU [youtube.com]
    • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Forever Wondering (2506940) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:41PM (#40319109)

      Just what we need, a database for the RIAA to use to play Whack-A-Mole on upcoming songwriters for 'copyright infringement'.

      This type of analysis has been going on for decades. I remember meeting a guy [circa 1992] who had a consulting business based on doing just that. He would put a [suspect] music CD into his CDROM drive and [with custom software he wrote] have it analyze the note sequences looking for fragments that matched fragments of his clients' songs/catalog. IIRC, the criterion was either 11 notes or 11 bars [I can't remember which] of music.

      There are only so many chord progressions possible.

      Per copyright law, things that have "only one way to do them" can't be copyrighted. Also, the work must be of sufficient length (e.g. a 3 chord sequence could not be copyrighted but a 50 chord sequence could). Although circuit courts have varied on this, in general, the courts have held that to grant a copyright on a short [enough] sequence is tantamount to trying use a copyright to get patent-like protection. For the most part, this gets rejected.

      For specific examples of this, read Alsup's decision in the recent Oracle/Google dispute (including the citations to precedents). Or the second Westlaw mashup (again with citations).

      This will allow the holders of the eternal copyright to sue somebody because the chord progression they wrote mirrors a song their grandparents heard in the womb and thus infringes.

      IIRC, just having a long chord sequence that matches isn't always grounds for claiming infringment. In particular, if the defendant can show that they got there through non-infringing means (e.g. they kept all their composition sheets and could prove that they created the work from scratch, it's not infringing even if a portion happens to match). Unfortunately, I can't recall the case law to cite for this [just an article I read way back when].

      Yet another argument for 7 year copyrights. Too bad we can't convince our Congresscritters of this...

      Yes, the current length is insane [and unconstitutional IMHO] ...

      • I remember meeting a guy [circa 1992] who had a consulting business based on doing just that. He would put a [suspect] music CD into his CDROM drive and [with custom software he wrote] have it analyze the note sequences looking for fragments that matched fragments of his clients' songs/catalog. IIRC, the criterion was either 11 notes or 11 bars [I can't remember which] of music.

        It was probably 11 notes, seeing as Bright Tunes v. Harrisongs had George Harrison losing over nine notes. Nine notes is already short enough to produce many coincidental matches among existing songs in the repertories of BMI and ASCAP. So what steps should a singer-songwriter take to avoid such copyright trolls?

        Yes, the current length is insane [and unconstitutional IMHO]

        Your HO matters not in the real world because you aren't five Supreme Court justices. Eldred v. Ashcroft.

        • It was probably 11 notes, seeing as Bright Tunes v. Harrisongs had George Harrison losing over nine notes. Nine notes is already short enough to produce many coincidental matches among existing songs in the repertories of BMI and ASCAP. So what steps should a singer-songwriter take to avoid such copyright trolls?

          IANAL, so consult with a real one specializing in this arena--before the fact. Have your questions written down and pay for an hour of their time to meet and consult [offer their expert opinion]--should cost $100-$1000. They will be aware of the most up-to-date, relevant case law. They will be able to advise you on the best steps you can take (e.g. to get registered copyright or not). Also, an ASCAP-like organization might have information for its members.

          The Bright Tunes/Harrisongs ruling was from 19

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "I remember meeting a guy [circa 1992] who had a consulting business based on doing just that."

        You mean actually working for a song?

    • >> copyright infringement

      Melody is copyrightable, chord changes are not.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @10:09PM (#40318409) Journal

    ...they were all either:

    • I, IV, VI, V
    • I, IV, II, V
    • I, VI, IV, V or
    • I, V/7, VI, I/5, IV, I/3, II7, V

    Right? Or maybe that's just pop songs from the past twenty years....

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly what I was thinking when I read this. There's nothing mysterious about the chord progressions of songs. Pick a key and play that sequence. It's basic music theory.
    • Except when it's ABACAB

    • by mortonda (5175)

      Yeah, anyone who has actually had formal music training should know that. Maybe that explains the current state of music. :(

      • by Vintermann (400722) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:29AM (#40319881) Homepage

        Anyone who had good formal music training should know that chord function is not identical with chord progression, and function may vary from style to style. Also that different styles of music vary along different parameters. Expecting a brave new chord progression in most styles is silly. And, in those styles where you're supposed to expect "original" chord progressions like prog rock, they usually turn out to not be all that original in the big picture.

        If variation is all you want in music, white noise is provably the perfect kind of music for you.

        The current state of music is that it's more diverse and plentiful than ever.

      • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @08:12AM (#40321545)

        Yes, I would agree, my Minor was in music, and in Music theory classes, they gave us a list of the Bach Approved Cord Progressions.
        This has been the gold standard in Western Music for hundreds of years. Too much variations of this will sound unmusical to western ears. Popular music is about being familiar, It has been for a long time, so popular music will not stay away from the familiar. That is why professional musicians can just jam with a brand new song, by hearing where the song is and where it has been, they know where it is going to go.

        When you "Break The Rules" which you are allowed to, use need a good reason to do so. Give music that extra spice, but it is akin to a jalapeno on a burger, vs. just eating a plat full of jalapeno's (if you break the rules for no good reason)

        The Tonic (I cord)
        and the Dominate (V Cord) are usually always work with each other. The Subdominate (IV cord is sometimes used too, because it is the inverse of the Dominate). The Submediant (VI Cord) is the natural minor code with the same key Signature of the Tonic cord.

        Now the Supertonic (II Cord) is often due to a secondary dominance (The V cord of the V cord) Or used to move to a minor function from a Subdominate(IV cord).

        The Mediant (III Cord) and Leading tone (VII Cord) are used very sparingly. Primarily because the Median and the Leading tone, are key notes in letting the listener know what mode the music is in Major or Minor (The VII also can tell if you have a Natural Minor or a Melodic Minor). So these notes are usually reserved to give the music its feel, and not be the boring job of being a Cord Root. Now you may see the III and VII cord in music, however they are often not really a III or VII cord anymore, they are part after a key change in the music (often due to Secondary dominance) and sticking to the new key, for a while (now the music may have a new key signature, or just more accidentals in that area).

        • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

          Curious that a theory minor would not use the traditional Roman indicating minor chords with lower case. ii iii and iv specifically.

          Your explanation of the Mediant makes no sense - it is common enough to make it into the top 6 according to this study. Going to protest the differences between "classical" and modern music? "Classical" music was the pop music of the day. And just as with Pachelbel's Canon in D, the iii chord is very useful as a lead-in to the IV. The difficulty is parallel movement, speci

    • by flyneye (84093)

      Then there's other considerations like the choice of keys due to the intonation constraints of standard guitars, which are very popular but unlikely to play in as many keys as a piano, which aren't quite as popular anymore or bagpipes which are only good for a key or two.

    • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @10:50PM (#40318733) Journal

      BTW, the reason for the popularity of many chords (or lack thereof) is likely because so much pop music is guitar-centric. An A major chord would only be common if you're playing in D major, E major, A major, or sometimes in D minor (with a raised 7th).

      • Playing in D major isn't great for solo guitar work because with standard tuning, you've lost the fundamental. Now if your guitarist is willing to keep an axe in drop-D, sure, but....
      • Playing in E major results in having to play a B major chord as your V, which is kind of a clumsy chord to play (compared with many other non-complex chords, anyway).
      • The key of A major is awkward for tenors. Although the middle A is comfortable, the high A is powerfully high, and the low A is below the bottom of their usable range, so you can't safely write music that spans an octave from tonic to tonic. And even for guys with lower voices, the low A just sounds too boomy.

      You'll notice that D, major, A major, and E major are the 5th, 6th, and 7th most popular keys. And although D minor is the 4th most popular key, not all A chords in D minor are going to be major chords.

      I would also expect the probability of moving from any given chord to another would be strongly correlated with the standard chord leading rules, assuming you analyze them with numbered chord notation rather than by the actual note names. Certain chords naturally follow other chords, and although you don't have to always use such pairs in that order, good composers will tend to do so the majority of the time.

      • by flyneye (84093)

        I was actually talking about the intonation the instrument fully tuned with a compensated bridge. Unless the nut is compensated as well most fretted notes are out of tune a bit till you get to the 12th and 24th frets. This makes many chords, comfortable or not, out of tune. Get a tuner and try this. Tune up your open notes. Pick a string and start fretting and checking the tune of each note. Surprised? Get someone to play a C maj. chord on a piano. Now play your open position C against this.
        YUCK, eh?

        • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

          I'm pretty sure you're confused here. Aside from the chord names being relative, as transposed to C, the tuning issues are somewhat mis-stated.

          It is far easier to understand beginning with common tuning systems. Originally, stringed instruments and keyboards such as the piano could only play in a few keys. This is due to the harmonic series, where an instrument's notes have to match with the overtones of other notes. A truly in-tune piano will sound good in one key because of things like the third being

          • by flyneye (84093)

            I'm pretty sure I'm not confused as this is not a question of temperment, Temperment is an abused word in the sites that follow.Ignore their use of it. The object of the exercise is to have an instrument that play in tune in all octaves in standard ,everyday, equal temperment. It is a question of the physical nature of the string not being satisfied, tuned to it's particular note at it's particular scale length. The distance from string to fret is negligible and addressed in compensation.It can be addresse

      • by nothings (597917)

        tl;dr: RTFA, not just the pictures.

        Full version:

        Unfortunately, you misread the site. The site doesn't report the popularity of chords by name at all. If you'd read the lead-in to the chord chart, you'd see the explanation. Or if you'd thought about the most popular chords being "G F C Am Dm Em", the main traids in the key of C, you might be suspicious. Or if you had read the following analysis on the site which explains his theories for their popularity, you'd have seen your misinterpretation.

        The site

      • However as a Bass Player, I like D Major. between the Notes of A-F# (the A and D string (The two center strings) ) you can keep the same position and follow Open 1 4 Open 1 4, C isn't that bad Open 1 2 Open 1 2

      • by T.E.D. (34228)

        The key of A major is awkward for tenors. Although the middle A is comfortable, the high A is powerfully high, and the low A is below the bottom of their usable range, so you can't safely write music that spans an octave from tonic to tonic. And even for guys with lower voices, the low A just sounds too boomy.

        Most guys have lower voices. Baritone is the most common natural male singing voice, and most men are either Baritone or Bass.. It is only in Rock music where it seems like every male voice has to run in the tenor range. A large amount of Rock is even routinely done in falsetto (save some Heavier Metal examples where they just give up on singing altogether and just shout instead). So it seems to me your argument is running into a chicken and egg problem here. I would have guessed the unnaturally high singi

        • It is only in Rock music where it seems like every male voice has to run in the tenor range

          Originally this was an artifact of early microphones which responded most effectively in that range. Nowadays it's mostly momentum.

          They say that the 'new' 'singer' for AC/DC can't even be heard 10 feet away, he's 100% microphone falsetto.

          • by T.E.D. (34228)

            That makes sense. AC/DC's one of my faves (don't judge!) and I've tried for decades to emulate his singing, but can't.

            Bonn Scott I could make a passable try at, but Brian Johnson's "voice" is hopeless.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Uhhh, Formulaic "music" earned the proverbial shitton of money for groups in prior decades... /p>

      For instance, Journey...

      Posted with effuse apologies to my cohabitant, who is a Journey "groupie".

      Also, see my sig :-)

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Also, their speed is also so similar that you can mix and match without much effort. In fact, there's even a sketch [youtube.com] where they do that. (If they're right, though, twenty years might be a little bit too optimistic.)
      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Yeah, I was talking to my parents, and they pointed out that it was pretty much that way back to the 1950s.

        (I) Big (VI) girls (II) (V), they don't (I) cry-yai-(VI)-yai, (II)they don't (V)cry.

        I'm just hoping that Justin Bieber's "Baby" finally puts the four-chord song form out of its misery.

    • Right? Or maybe that's just pop songs from the past twenty years....

      I wish he had included the year of the song's release in his analysis. It would be interesting to see if chord preferences have changed much over the past 100+ years.

      As a barbershop quartet singer, I tend to favor simple melodies that follow the circle of fifths fairly closely, because those are the songs it is easy to improvise harmony parts to go along with. That preference spills over into the type of music I listen to, not just sing... and it's the reason my dislike of an era's music increases with ne

    • If they'd tried analyzing Beethoven it would have been even simpler :-)

      V I V I V V V I IV V I

      Take the slow movement of the seventh symphony. No tune (all on the same note), no rhythmic interest (dah, da, da, dah, dah repeated over and over again) and yet it's a hauntingly beautiful movement.

      It's not even the way he uses the orchestra - Liszt's piano transcription is just as haunting:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKePu4Je7l4 [youtube.com]

      (while four against three is fairly common in piano music - the chopin fantasy impro

    • Obviously, more variation in music makes for superior music. With this simple, uncontroversial assertion, we can prove with mathematical information theory that this [simplynoise.com] is the perfect musical composer.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      You forgot that staple of dance music:
      I, I, I, repeat ad nauseum
  • by theNetImp (190602) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @10:13PM (#40318437)

    Don't need no computer analysis for that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I [youtube.com]

    • by Eredhel (1804132)
      The formula is already known, and incredibly simple. In any major key the most commonly used chord progression is as follows: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii Just insert that formula into the circle of fifths and you're done. The minor key formula just switches the majors, capital, and minors, lower case.
      • by jasno (124830) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @10:38PM (#40318629) Journal

        Yeah, this whole thing sounds like something a computer programmer came up with after learning 2 hours of music theory. If he would have spent a few more hours on music theory he would have realized how obvious his conclusions were.

        I'd be more interested in hearing why those chord changes are popular - i.e. an explanation of their psychological effect.

        • by thereitis (2355426) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:11PM (#40318917) Journal

          I'd be more interested in hearing why those chord changes are popular - i.e. an explanation of their psychological effect.

          There's plenty of information culled from research sitting in Wikipedia. eg. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_neuroscience_of_music [wikipedia.org]

          However, a more narrative explanation would make for more interesting reading (to me, at least).

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Mike610544 (578872)
            That's one of my favorite things about music. Nobody can explain it. People throw around some bullshit hypotheses, but in reality we just don't know.
        • I'd be more interested in hearing why those chord changes are popular - i.e. an explanation of their psychological effect.

          Probably because they're popular? I know that's kind of begging the question. But these chord progressions can be found even in folk music. It's kind of asking why Microsoft Windows is so popular. It's popular because somehow it got popular.

          I've heard plenty of so-called "progressive" rock, and none of them can match the sheer power and inventiveness of Beethoven. Aside from the evolut

        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          I'd be more interested in hearing why those chord changes are popular - i.e. an explanation of their psychological effect.

          I'd be interrested to know if the popularity of these same chord changes hold true in different cultures with different musical systems.

          The division in 12 notes that make up an octave is pretty much a west-european invention; different cultures have historically invented their own systems of notes and chords with striking similarities but also and huge differences.

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        In any major key the most commonly used chord progression is as follows: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii Just insert that formula into the circle of fifths and you're done.

        Those are the most commonly used chords, but that's not a common progression at all. Among other patterns, the most common progressions tend to have:

        • V leading to I. This resolves the 7th scale step to the tonic.
        • IV leading to either a V chord (everything slides up a whole step), a II/II7 chord (the top interval goes away and is replaced b
        • by bogjobber (880402) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:42AM (#40319711)
          I don't think that statistical analysis can glean anything terribly interesting other than confirming what we already know. Sure, an authentic cadence sounds satisfying, and because of that it's always going to very popular. But for anything even moderately more complex, most of it is going to depend on cultural factors for whether or not it becomes popular.

          Just look at the history of blues changes in western music. Go back 200 years and Beethoven was the only major European composer playing around with the V-IV progression IIRC. Most people absolutely hated it, and it sounded completely foreign to their ears. They nicknamed it coitus interruptus because it did not resolve "properly." Then blues explodes in the US, and from the 1950's on that's one of the most common progressions in Western music. Then in the 1970's everybody's so tired of blues-based rock that it gets passe again. It sounds boring. So over time it went from sounding unnatural and experimental to being so common that it was uninteresting to many musicians. Nothing about the actual theory or function of the chords changed, just cultural factors.

          Plus, it would be pretty difficult to do. Even if you spent a great deal of time on each song, it would be difficult to give consistent interpretations. Is that iii substiuting for tonic? Is that a tri-tone sub of the V, or just a passing chord? Things like that.
          • by dgatwood (11270)

            Fair enough. Still, I think we can all agree that the four-chord song needs to die already. :-)

            What might be most interesting would be searching for patterns that don't fit the mould, e.g. songs that resolve a iii to a tonic, followed by a ii. Then burn every copy of any song that doesn't have at least a certain percentage of outliers. :-D

    • by GrandCow (229565)

      Don't need no computer analysis for that.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I [youtube.com]

      Man, as soon as I saw the title of the OP I knew this was going to be posted. The Axis of Awesome is, well, AWESOME; but they are not the first or only band that has done a 4-chords performance. They are the most recognizable group that has performed a 4-chords performance though, and I absolutely adore them.

      Here are two other examples, though not very well circulated. The first is from before Axis of Awesome, I found many of the same type of pop-medley mashups a few years ago. Sadly, I forget the search

    • Don't need no computer analysis for that.

      Agreed, there's no need to back up theses with data.

  • This does not "give one a deeper more fundamental sense for how music works", but gives insight into what tends to be popular in the USA. Now, you could say that that has a major effect on the popular culture of the rest of the world because of the way it's exported, but still it's not necessarily the fundamentals of music in general.

    • by jd (1658)

      Agreed. What you would need to do is get music from all points of time and all cultures. Anything common to all is fundamental, anything common to a given genre (without geographical limitations) is fundamental only to that genre, anything common to a given culture (without genre limitations) is fundamental only to that culture.

      The data collected is thus not random and will fail statistical tests used to determine the validity of the data set.

    • Rediscovered and capitalized upon... this isn't new information, just new to their audience. Anyone that learned to play piano or guitar figured this out long before these guys... and cringe every time the pattern is re-released as a new pop single. It's kind of funny and subtle that transition from sensitive artist to business man... funny how that teenage girls always fall for it, and the business man always looks identical while performing. My best friend, a piano prodigy, wrote this very song at age 8 o
  • with a fast enough computer could you programatically write sheet music for every possible song ever, copy write it, and the sue away? Sure, you'd get dinged for the already copywrited stuff, but you could just cross reference off future product, since you know own all of music.
    • with a fast enough computer could you programatically write sheet music for every possible song ever,

      No, never. Ever. A song is not just notes, it's sound, it's melody. It's a million intangible aspects that I do not think any program could encompass.

      Art and creativity are thankfully out of the reach of automation. You can try, but a human mind can synthesize in a way that a computer is simply incapable of. That is why we are still in control of the machines.

  • Don't let the RIAA get their hands on this technology. They will just start suing all the off-label artists for stealing their valuable "copyrighted" chord progressions.
    • Dude RIAA has known this for milennia. This is why they often don't even wait for talent to come up with their own songs, but click on their computer,"Create Song.", then they teach a random cute or outrageous looking young person how to sing to it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of music theory could have told you that. It's not just pop songs either, composers have been using that progression for hundreds of years in every conceivable genre. It goes back to the very beginning of what we would consider standard harmony, circa late 16th century, maybe earlier.

  • Strangely, they found that a vast majority of popular music from the last 60 years seemed to break down into a pattern of 48 beats using three repeated chords (and variants thereof), such as: AAAADDAAEDAE. Odd that.
  • The brits alread did this, years ago. Watch & Enjoy:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4423562351831425828 [google.com]

  • I think the folks over at The Onion have figured out the pattern to a hit pop song. I present as evidence, K'Ronikka with Booty Wave:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmCjJ0VBjjU [youtube.com]
  • What kind of software did you use for your analysis?

    What kind of chord information do you see when you analyze something like one of the sections of Vivaldi's For Seasons pieces? I'd say borrow a Vivaldi score and then run your analyzer on those blocks of violins that are sawing away in something like the Summer or Winter pieces. The Vivaldi tunes are really "wall of sound" or "wall of musical excitement" pieces. But underneath all the flashy richness of multiple violins playing I wonder would your analysis

  • I prefer organic processing devices. The music sounds so much better. I hate when they crash. *sobs*

  • by skine (1524819) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:05AM (#40319543)

    It really doesn't matter, so long as you have a good marketing department.

  • Just about every pop song for the past... eternity... has used the same pattern: I, V, vi, IV. It's hilarious how bad it's getting. For instance, look at the preview of Coldplay's "The Scientist" [musicnotes.com] on MusicNotes. The original key is F Major, so we'll work off of that. We start off with a Dm chord, thusly iv (minor sixth). Transition into Bb Major, so we get IV (major fourth). Then down to F, so I, and finally to C, so V (major fifth). They just shifted the pattern two chords over.
  • to consider that music needs ONLY a succession of notes happening in predefined patterns in order to please people !!!

  • Couldn't he at least have used that system and then told us the most common chord sequences as well as the most common keys...
  • by multiplexo (27356) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:47AM (#40319725) Journal
    The science fiction author Charles Sheffield wrote a story about a similar idea in the late 1970s called What Song the Sirens Sang [baenebooks.com]. The protagonist is a journalist investigating a politician who has come seemingly out of nowhere and is about to be nominated for president. He discovers that the secret to the politician's success is that he has developed a theory of communications that allows him to combine words and music to evoke optimum emotional responses. Check it out, it's a short read and very good.
  • A recent study of the "Freie Universität Berlin" of trends in US charts suggests, that pop songs got slower over the last 50 years and use more minor chords. Doesn't mean that society got sadder, the study explains, it only shows that we listen to more ambivalent stuff and are able to enjoy even sad emotions.
  • I'm sorry, but the reserch won't tell anything interesting. For a song it is much more important, HOW it is performed, not WHAT is performed. There is no (naive) formula there, that a computer could analyze. The success of a song has everything to do with the charm of the artists and how skilled the musicians are and how it is arranged and so on. The chord progressions are irrelevant. Look, this song [youtube.com] had only 1 chord and it was a huge hit. So what now -- we start writing 1-chord songs and every monkey could
    • For a song it is much more important, HOW it is performed, not WHAT is performed.

      Not to a judge in a copyright suit [ucla.edu]. Judges strip away the performance and look at the sheet music.

  • The coolest app ever would be one where you hum, whistle or sing a few bars of a song you know, or almost remember, and it identifies the song for you. Of course said app would have to know all the songs in advance in order to find a match. Yeah, that would go over big with the RIAA.

  • We'll explore more patterns in Part II.

    So the juicy stuff comes next month?

    I did something similar on a smaller scale recently for a still-in-progress hobby auto-composing app using cSound and scripts. I took chord progressions that I personally liked and built a chord pairing chart something like:

    A --> C
    Am --> F, Em, Dm // note: m=minor
    A# --> G, D#, Am
    B --> D, F
    etc...

    The first chord is the "lookup chord" and the second is a list of candidate "good" chords. In a loop it produces a chord sequence

  • "we look at 1300 songs to discover some answers... It was hard because the data wasn't good. We entered the data ourselves." And that is it???? That is your entire summary? What about like maybe telling us what the article is actually about like what were some of the answers they discovered?
  • They accept user-contributed analyses and etc. Check.

    They have no visible license (that I can find) under which user contributions are made. Check.

    They do not provide any way (that I can find) to download the database. Check.

    Made of fail.

  • On of my first class teacher told us: You are here because you have some instinct about creating interesting designs, you will now learn the science behind it to make it happens on demand... it really got into me. I still rely more on my instincts though.
  • by grumpyman (849537) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @10:03AM (#40322749)
    Maybe they could have tried on guitarpro files? I'm not sure if they can be read by 3rd party but those a analogous to midi files.
  • Here's the one and only progression:

    I, I, IV, IV, I, I, V, IV, (repeat until near the end, then throw in a flat-seven)

There are never any bugs you haven't found yet.

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