Every Song Can Be Boiled Down to These 9 Basic Elements (No Music Theory Required)

John from Live 88-5 points us to this very interesting article from Medical Daily on the essential building blocks of every single song you’ve ever heard or will hear.

[O]ur perception of music can be boiled down to nine elements: speed, rhythmic clarity, rhythmic complexity, articulation, dynamics, modality, overall pitch, harmony, and brightness (if it’s dark or light). This rivals existing models used to predict an individual’s preference for certain genres, which analyze audio signals, musical elements, musical genre, as well as resulting emotions: happy, sad, and tenderness. The nine elements at the center of the present study are also known as perceptual features, and it’s these features researchers predict offer a better understanding of the music people like compared to computational models.

“Getting a group of people to agree on anything having to do with music is — as any DJ can attest — not easily done,” the press release from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology prefaced. “But by focusing on nine key features of music, the team was able to find some commonalities in perception that could prove useful.”

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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