New Science: Formulaic Music

music comments edit

I’ve mentioned this idea before, but I keep thinking about it so I thought I’d expand on it here: The idea that music can be represented by a mathematical equation of some nature and can potentially be analyzed for certain qualities that can be reproduced in other songs.

First we need to find a way to accurately represent music mathematically; that is, to be able to model every aspect of a piece of music numerically. This would have to include the type of instruments being played, the notes themselves, the quality of the singer’s voice, the rhythm, the volume… every possible quality of a given piece of music.

Then we need to do this modeling for several pieces of music. Model similar pieces - pieces by the same composer, pieces played by the same band/orchestra. Discover the similarities in the pieces. Now model very dissimilar pieces. What makes them different from each other?

With enough data, you could generate a model for how music looks mathematically. From that model, you could potentially create a formula for the generation of other pieces of music.

This would totally revolutionize the music industry as we know it. Someone needs a song, they plug in a few parameters into the formula and out pops a new hit tune. People could create a song-generating machine - push a few buttons, it prints out the sheet music with all the arrangements and everything for a pop hit or a new symphony.

What would that mean for creativity? Would it mean that good songwriters are the people who naturally understand this equation? Would it put the songwriters out of business? Or would it change the way songs need to be written? Maybe both?