Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DarwinTunes - Evolution of Music by Public Choice

The natural world – creatures, plants, infections – is the result of Darwinian evolution by natural selection, i.e., the gradual process of (biological) traits become either more or less common in a population based on the success of the organism carrying these traits. This process, repeated for two billion years, has created the vast diversity of life on earth.
The same process can be also observed in human society where cultural artifacts – words, songs, images, ideas – are constantly remixed and reinterpreted by people. A reinterpretation is an imperfect copy and therefore a “mutation”. Thus, the variety of our culture is the result of a cultural evolution.
In order to examine the underlying mechanism of cultural evolution, Robert M. MacCalluma, Matthias Mauch, Austin Burta, and Armand M. Leroia constructed a Darwinian music engine consisting of a population of short audio loops that sexually reproduce and mutate.
The selection is based on human feedback via a webpage that implements the remixing of tunes as a game. By remixing your tune with others, the other parent gets a score point. Your goal is to make an attractive tune - the more often you get remixed, the more points you have.

In 2010, researchers from the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt released a similar system where people could vote for recombinations of music tunes.  


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