Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Evolve Music!

What happens when you cross modern European musical tastes with biological geekiness? A project like Darwin Rocks! This online game was produced by the Animal Evolutionary Ecology group at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. It generates a few short pieces of synthetic music that has a number of variable traits: type of beat, instruments, key, rhythm. The user selects which ones he or she likes and dislikes, and then 'evolves' them for a number of generations. Repeat this process, and eventually, or so the idea is, you get a piece of music that has evolved to fit your musical preferences!

A neat way to spend a lazy afternoon, but one drawback is that most casual browsers will not attentively listen to all of the clips in their entirety. The 'hidden variation' that you don't observe can actually make the results quite different from what you were expecting! At least when I tried it out, it was producing some pretty awful sounds....

But it's worth visiting to have a look at the promotional music video they've made to illustrate the principle of Darwinian fitness. Or as the press release says: "The song and the music video with the title “Struggle for love” are about love, fight, and the right mix in evolution."

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