17.12.13

A Singular Christmas




"A Singular Christmas" was composed and rendered in 2004 by Brian Whitman. It is the automatic statistical distillation of hundreds of Christmas songs; the 16-song answer to the question asked of a bank of computers: "What is Christmas Music, really?"

"So then what is special about Christmas music? Let’s take the nativist view– that there is something in the composition, construction, timbre or production in every popular Christmas song that makes it fit into the genre. Some predefined, baked in, Chomsky grammar style language of melodies and instruments. So play a Christmas song to someone who’s never experienced a Christmas before. What do they feel? Do they rush out and buy spray-on snow? I never got around to doing the study. What I could do is try to distill holiday music down to its barest essentials. My hypothesis was that if we could figure out the dominant components of Christmas music, and train a system looking only at the audio to make more of it from those components, and if that new music passes the Turing test of the general public considering it Christmas music, then yes, we’ve cracked the code — we can have Holiday Forever, a Singular Christmas."

Links:
A Singular Christmas (2004)
The Echo Nest
Music Information Retrieval by Downie
Music Retrieval: A Tutorial and Review by Nicola Orio
Music Information Retrieval (Wikipedia)




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