Music Characteristics Web

Made by Amber Jones

Created: September 15th, 2014



The everyday experience I have chosen is listening to music, or playing an instrument. I have been playing violin for 11 years now, and believe that the act of playing an instrument or listening to music could benefit from data representation. I believe it would be incredibly beneficial to the listener to have a real time interface that would display a web of characteristics relating to the music that is being played.

Learning to read music can be difficult, but building musicality can take years (sometimes decades?) of listening, observing, and practicing. Musicality, meaning ‘sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music’ (Merriam-Webster).


So, I believe that a great way for people to get a better understanding of musical elements would be to display a real time graph (or web) of characteristics for that particular song, artist, or composer. This web could be real-time, as you’re listening to the song – so as the song progresses, if certain elements are added, it can present them to notify the listener that there was a change in structure or style.

To gather the needed data, scanning the internet for frequent terms associated with a composer or specific piece/genre of music. There are several documents, journals, articles, blogs, etc. that describe the musical elements related to a piece of music. The characteristics that I’d search for would be the specific musical elements of the song.



My feedback from my group helped me because at first, I was thinking about my project in an application-based form. It was too easy for me to apply function before actually representing the data itself. I originally thought of a program, specifically for practicing an instrument, that in real-time, would notify you if you’re playing a pitch or articulation incorrectly (this program would be aware of the song that is being played). Along with this, the program would’ve tracked the tempo that the musician is playing and accompany the musician with a corrected-pitch version of the piece. 

original idea: 



For this specific project, the goal is for the user to understand and/or become more aware of a phenomena by being presented with clear (graphically excellent) data that easily describes to the user its purpose. The point is for the data to be presented in such a clear way that it can give an significant or emotional impact on the user. I had to deconstruct my original thoughts down to the purpose of learning an instrument itself – to be musical.

If the goal is to be musical, the goal is to understand all of what makes up music. A web that can diverge from the artist’s genre to the symmetry their rhythm could do just that.