Archive for May, 2007

The RIAA’s worst nightmare: computers that understand music

Computers and music have been linked since the earliest days of the mainframe, when giant machines controlled primitive synthesizers. Recently, however, a significant advancement has taken place in the field of computer music with the development of software that can not only transcribe polyphonic music in real time, but can also play back complex harmonies alongside human performers. For instance, at the annual Music Information Retrieval Exchange (MIREX) competition, Christopher Raphael of Indiana University demonstrated a system that can understand live music well enough to accompany a musician.

Raphael started playing an oboe quartet written by Mozart, and his electronic accompaniment chimed in playing the other three instruments. When Raphael slowed down his performance, the computer "musicians" followed right along with him without missing a beat, even when he added a trill for emphasis.

"Technology is changing our sense of what music can be," Raphael says. "The effect is profound." The new software was not easy to develop, however. Raphael compares it to the slow progress in effective speech recognition. "There’s been a veritable army of people who’ve worked on speech recognition for several decades, and [the problem] still remains open," he says. "Any time you deal with real data, there is a huge amount of variation that you have to understand."

Raphael’s program works by analyzing the waveforms emitted by musical instruments. It has been relatively straightforward for computers to accurately identify a single note being played, but when harmonies enter the picture, it becomes a far more difficult problem. A program written by Daniel Ellis of Columbia University uses machine learning techniques to "teach" computers how to understand music by feeding it 92 recordings along with their musical scores. Gradually, the software begins learning the rules of music (such as how an E is often played with an A, but rarely with an A sharp) and over time it becomes more adept at discerning the notes from the music. Raphael’s program doesn’t have to go through this complex process because it only has to follow a single performer, but future iterations may be able to follow along with a whole group.

Similar technology has already shown up in the commercial music market, such as the infamous AutoTune software that gives Maroon 5 perfect pitch on CD even though the lead singer couldn’t hit a note correctly if his life depended on it; artists like Shania Twain are even rumored to use a real-time version of AutoTune for their concerts.

However, making heavily-filtered pop music isn’t the only possible outcome of this research. Computer performers could handle new types of music with many more notes played at once than humans are capable of handling. Disc Jockeys could have many more options for creating unique performances. And software could make learning an instrument faster and more enjoyable, as students could practice with a "real" orchestra again and again without it ever getting tired, or needing to clear its spit valves.

But mixed in with these great ideas are also worries about how copyright holders would react to the explosion of mash-ups and other creative works that would be facilitated by a computer with both perfect pitch and the ability to learn and playback music in real time. Indeed, what new DRMs and watermarking techniques will be invented once a computer can not only "record" music, but can break it down into its constituent parts and reassemble it again, perhaps in simulated HD audio quality. That day could be closer than you think.

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arstechnica

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Posted: May 10th, 2007
at 9:45am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers,music,business,design,fo' real?

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Fausto Gilberti

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Posted: May 9th, 2007
at 9:28am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: art

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La Jetee

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La Jetee is a great short film (approx. run time: 27 minutes), not just because it was inspired by Hitchcocka€™s Vertigo and, in ita€™s turn, inspired Gilliama€™s Twelve Monkeys, but because it shows what is possible when one has a good story and limited resources.

Created in 1962 by French film maker Chris Marker (who is still alive, doesna€™t grant interviews and when asked for a photograph of himself sends one of a cat) this short was shot in high-contrast black and white and was captured with nothing more than a Pentax 24Aa36 (still camera) and an Arriflex (Ia€™m guessing the exact model here) 35 2c a€"a non-synced sound camera that is capable of only recording image.

It has only two main characters, about two minor characters, maybe, four more super-minor characters, and a slew of unwitting extras. It was shot entirely without sound and the only soundtrack on the movie itself consists of a narrator and small bits of music.

In spite of all this (or maybe, because of it) ita€™s considered a classic of French cinema and high-art SF.

Click here to see it.

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Posted: May 9th, 2007
at 9:27am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: film

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Laurina Paperina


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Posted: May 8th, 2007
at 9:43am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: art

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The World’s Most Interesting Man

There are four and you can view them here: Most Interesting Man, Packages, Mixed Nuts, and Careers.
Created by Euro RSCG/New York with Jeff Kling as Creative Director. Steve Miller directed the spots with @radical media as the production company (Outside Editorial
did the post work).

All of these spots are tied in at the end with our interesting gentleman telling us to a€oestay thirsty my friendsa€A which is actually the web address to their campaign site, www.staythirstymyfriends.com. Here you can test your skill in patience and strength(by arm wrestling Mao, Churchill, Stalin, or even our most interesting man), apply to become the most interesting man in the worlda€™s personal assistant, and view various photos with our host performing various a€oemanlya€A feats. Pretty funny site to match the spots, kudos.

brentter

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Posted: May 8th, 2007
at 9:28am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,celebrity,too good to be true,business

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P2P Internet Television

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Posted: May 7th, 2007
at 9:29am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: youtube,computers,web

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Marco Polo feat. Masta Ace - Nostalgia

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Posted: May 4th, 2007
at 10:11am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: youtube,music

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Alarm Puzzle Clock

hometech.apartmenttherapy

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Posted: May 4th, 2007
at 9:19am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,gear

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Golden State Warriors, 48 Minutes

leewalton

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Posted: May 3rd, 2007
at 9:29am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,art

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