Music Technology Update: Echo Nest Hatches

The burgeoning realm of musical analysis software has been boosted by the launch of the Echo Nest, a startup that developed a ‘Musical Brain’ to aid music search and personalisation functionalities. They have already released a rather neat music analysis API, and plan to release new APIs each month…
(from Music Technology)

Slicing Up Your Music

The Echo Nest Analyze API can be harnessed by third-party software to delve into the internal structure of audio recordings. It provides a breakdown of tracks based upon a variety of attributes such as timbre, pitch, key, beat and time signature. Such analysis is derived from a ‘perceptual model of human listening’, and the Echo Nest API Page has a few interesting examples of how it can be used.

One example is the automation of beat matching and seamless mixing; in other words, it’s a sort of auto-DJ. On This Is My Jam, you can create playlists by dragging songs from search results into the jam box, and the program will mix and beat match your tracks for you. If you select very differently paced tracks, you can actually hear the tempo changes being applied as the songs are mixed.

Applied Music Technology

The Echo Nest technology may also be applied very effectively to visualisations, as the data extracted from the audio can seed extremely responsive and detailed visual feedback. Another application for such technologies is in gaming, where music often needs to dynamically respond to specific user actions as well as the overall location and scenario.

You may also want to check out the Jingler, which allows a track to be ‘paused’ by looping a section of the track rather than actually stopping the audio altogether. Another interesting element of the Echo Nest API page is Anita Lillie‘s Vizualising Music video, which provides a visual representation of a fairly esoteric selection of tracks. The transition from Beethoven to Daft Punk is not exactly subtle…!


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