Pop music just evolution - study

2012-06-19 10:39
Pop music may be explained by an evolutionary computer program, researchers have found. (Chris Young, AP)

Pop music may be explained by an evolutionary computer program, researchers have found. (Chris Young, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - No talent necessary: The perfect pop tune can be engineered by a computer program and refined with the input of listeners, according to a British study published in the US.

The experiment, known as DarwinTunes, aimed to test the importance of consumer choice in shaping the music that becomes a hit on modern airwaves.

The program used randomly generated synthesizer beats, tunes and noise ranging from chime sounds to buzzing and beeping.

Online users voted on each the computer's eight-second-long creations, grading them from "I can't stand it!" to "I love it!" said the study.

The "loved" tracks were mingled in with other preferred tracks. The more of these "evolutions" a particular track went through, the better people seemed to like it, said the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Extinct

"We wondered whether consumer choice is the real force behind the relentless march of pop," said Armand Leroi, co-author of the research and professor of evolutionary developmental biology at Imperial College London.

"Every time someone downloads one track rather than another they are exercising a choice, and a million choices is a million creative acts," Leroi added.

"After all, that's how natural selection created all of life on earth, and if blind variation and selection can do that, then we reckoned it should be able to make a pop tune. So we set up an experiment to explain it."

Around 7 000 web listeners took part in the experiment for the published study.

The noise samples that got the worst ratings soon went extinct, while those that were more pleasing to the ear lived on.

"After approximately 2 500 generations under natural selection, the authors found that the loops quickly evolved from noise into appealing music," said the study.

"We knew our evolutionary music engine could make pretty good music in the hands of one user, but what we really wanted to know was if it could do so in a more Darwinian setting, with hundreds of listeners providing their feedback," said co-author Bob MacCallum, a mosquito genomics bioinformatician in the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London.

"Thanks to our students' and the general public's valuable input, we can confidently say it does."

The project is ongoing at darwintunes.org.
Read more on:    science  |  technology

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.