learn to see what you hear

The patterns of music are infinite and so complex. How does one go about making sense of them? For an information designer… by visualizing them, of course!

The following are a few extraordinary algorithms designed by very smart and patient people, in the hopes of learning from the patterns of songs, artists and genres.

The Infinite Jukebox is a program created to visually plot songs based on their repetition and chord structure.

This great blog post explores the visual similarities in popular songs from the last few years, based on the plots generated by the Infinite Jukebox.

The same blog, musicmachinery.com also has a great article detailing the factors considered when generating genre maps.

Finally, Every Noise at Once is the world’s best thing – an interactive genre map created by Glenn McDonald. It uses an algorithm to sift through 1500 genres on Spotify, and creates a genre map that, upon clicking on a genre, plays a sample of the top song of the top artist in that genre. Delve into that genre and it produces a map of artists in that genre that play samples of top songs as well. The larger the tag, the more popular the artist is.

Beware – I’ve spent hours on Every Noise. The fact that it is connected with Spotify provides even more opportunities to explore.

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