Sunday, January 01, 2006

Opening Pandora's Box

Last night, I learned about Pandora, a creation of the Music Genome Project.

A description of the project from the MGP site: "[W]e set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like."

On the website, you create a personal station by entering the name of an artist or a song that you like. Then, Pandora plays songs with a similar musical "gene," letting you give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to songs as you desire. A great idea--and free, if you don't mind ads.

As a result, I'm listening to James Cleveland, Albertina Walker, Clara Ward and the like online right now. Pretty cool.

What's your favorite online source for gospel (and/or related) music? Leave the URL in a comment, and if there are enough responses, maybe I'll create a roundup.


Panoplia Soljah said...

I tried entering Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, and Hezekiah Walker. Pandora did not recognize any of them.

LaTonya said...

Hmmm. I've tried Yolanda Adams, and it recognized her, although the results were musically rather than thematically similar. Pandora played a couple of her songs from Believe.

But most of the people I've tried so far have been more historic--Cleveland, Sallie Martin, et. al. The results I got for Virtue were kinda sketchy. I've heard a couple of Joe Pace's songs, too, as well as Kirk Whalum, Cyrus Chestnut, Odetta, The Staples Singers, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Ramsey Lewis and Take 6. I was starting to wonder if it was possible to stump Pandora. Thanks for weighing in.

LaTonya said...

Panoplia, I've now also tried Kirk Franklin and Hez. Pandora played a track from KF's Hero and, recognzing Hammond's musical style, played HW's "Clean Inside" from Family Affair. I'm not sure what's not working out for you.

LaTonya said...

. . .Just heard Fred Hammond's "We Lift Up Your Name."