Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cultural Evolution links

The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks has an interesting post, The Music Genome Project is no such thing.
The Music Genome Project is a database in which 1 million pieces of music (currently) have been coded for 450 distinct musical characteristics. The main use of the database at the moment is to provide the data from which predictions can be made about which other pieces of music might appeal to listeners of any nominated musical set; this is implemented in the Pandora Radio product. This seems like a valuable idea.
What's being studied, however, are "phenotypic" traits. But that's OK. It still looks interesting.

There's also this link to Victor Grauer's Phylogenetic Tree of Musical Style, which is based on the Cantometrics project that Alan Lomax organized back in the 1960s. I've only glanced at it, but it looks pretty interesting.

And then there's the Book Genome Project, which isn't about the "genes" of books either, but rather about phenotypic traits. You can use the book "genomes" to find similar books; for that, go to Booklamp.


  1. This is not directly relevent to this post, but we talked a long time ago on the larval subjects blog about the synchronisation and state space restriction of musicians, I thought you might appreciate this:

  2. Interesting. Here's the abstract:

    Control of relative timing is critical in ensemble music performance. We hypothesize that players respond to and correct asynchronies in tone onsets that arise from fluctuations in their individual tempos. We propose a first-order linear phase correction model and demonstrate that optimal performance that minimizes asynchrony variance predicts a specific value for the correction gain. In two separate case studies, two internationally recognized string quartets repeatedly performed a short excerpt from the fourth movement of Haydn's quartet Op. 74 no. 1, with intentional, but unrehearsed, expressive variations in timing. Time series analysis of successive tone onset asynchronies was used to estimate correction gains for all pairs of players. On average, both quartets exhibited near-optimal gain. However, individual gains revealed contrasting patterns of adjustment between some pairs of players. In one quartet, the first violinist exhibited less adjustment to the others compared with their adjustment to her. In the second quartet, the levels of correction by the first violinist matched those exhibited by the others. These correction patterns may be seen as reflecting contrasting strategies of first-violin-led autocracy versus democracy. The time series approach we propose affords a sensitive method for investigating subtle contrasts in music ensemble synchronization.