Home > Uncategorized > Guest Posting on Musical Similarity

Guest Posting on Musical Similarity

Just this past week, I had a guest posting (Defining Musical Similarity: Genre and Beyond) put up on the brand-new blog for the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). Given that blog’s intended scope, it’s of a different flavour from my usual postings here, which typically focus on specific instances of cross-genre similarity, both real and “imagined” (or, the ones I tend to perceive). The guest posting for ASIS&T is more closely related to my discipline, library and information science (LIS), and it provides an overview of my research. Although it isn’t really about specific music, anyone who’s interested in the idea of cross-genre similarity at an abstract level  might be interested in the posting’s encapsulation of the relevant research

More specifically, the posting discusses how genre has become the “best” mode for categorizing music in a variety of systems, with similar principles indirectly manifesting themselves within recommender systems. And that this continues to remain the case, despite:

  • the limitations of behaviour-based algorithms of recommender systems;
  • the lack of a definitive and immutable taxonomy of genres;
  • the individual ways we perceive similarity and preference;
  • the usage of similar musical principles across diverse genres;
  • the emergence of “omnivorous” listeners; and
  • trends in how one describes “legitimate” musical tastes (in other words, it isn’t all “classical and opera”).

Of course, relevant citations to all of the above points are given in the posting itself.

I also describe the scope of my proposed doctoral research, which relates to the ways in which people describe similarity as it pertains to music. It will be interesting to see the extent to which genre emerges as a factor, or if other factors also play a role as well. The posting concludes with potential applications and implications. Of course, I’m quite keen on the idea of recommendation (and even modes of categorization) that more actively breaks genre-based habits. That said, there are some potential issues with that as well. But that’s another guest posting…

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