Music analyzation software
January 25, 2010 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Is there any music analyzation software or website that will provide you with descriptive terms about the song? Like Pandora will describe a song as having "disco influences", "four on the floor beats" or "danceable beats."

Any way to access this on a per-song basis?
posted by ascetic to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pandora uses humans. The most you'd get out of software is likely bpm (and only a good guess), so you can probably restrict your search to crowdsourced websites.
posted by sixswitch at 12:24 PM on January 25, 2010

Pandora uses the Music Genome Project, but all of the information about the songs is human-generated. I don't think it's possible at the moment to generate that kind of information programatically.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:26 PM on January 25, 2010

Pandora lets you search for a particular song, and the descriptive terms are available on that song's page. That should work if I'm understanding your question correctly.
posted by cali59 at 3:03 PM on January 25, 2010

"Understanding" music requires humans. Descriptions like "dark," "fast," "spare," "melodious," or "intricate" mean something subjective (and they also mean something different depending on genre -- imagine the prior descriptors applied to hip-hop versus applied to indie rock).
posted by zpousman at 3:06 PM on January 25, 2010

Knowing why you want descriptions would be helpful. But I'll guess a couple of possible reasons:

If you want descriptions for commercially released tracks, your best bet is the Music Genome Project, or reviews in music magazines.

If you want to automatically sort/group a library music, then mufin might help: it claims to "arrange your 3D sound universe by many different metrics: mood, vocals, tempo, release date, sound, sound density, sound color, track length, rating, aggresiveness, percussiveness, play count and when a track has been added / played". There have also been some interesting academic papers about algorithms for grouping music (eg. Islands of Music, for which source code is available).

If you just want descriptions to help you find similar music, try using, Lala or iTunes Genius.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 11:42 AM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

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