Vote for a note: crowdsourced songwriting?

Vote for a note: crowdsourced songwriting?

Jenna Simeonov

What do you get when you ask a crowd what a song should sound like? is currently completing a melody, generated one note at a time by people on the Internet. Users can vote for each subsequent note in a melody, choosing from a list of diatonic pitches. The crowdsourced song has a few parameters: 44 time, in C Major, with a fixed range of C to B, diatonically. The chord progression is simple enough: C, G, Am, F, and inspired by this.

On the one hand, the song sounds a bit dull. It’s repetitive, but then again, so are the notes and chords available to choose from. Says programmer Brendon Ferris, “Sticking to the scale was much safer for a first song and reduces the number of options, so the vote sample size could also be smaller.”

Dull as it may be in its current state, the project shows a tool with a lot of potential for people interested in making music, but who lack some of the theoretical and practical background to write songs. It reminds me a bit of (one of the most addicting websites on the Internet, if you ask me).

What I find truly intriguing about is not its use as a songwriting tool, but what it can learn from the general public. There’s a real possibility of gleaning information about what people want to hear; as someone who works in what’s often considered a closed, elitist form of music, the chance to gather this kind of information is exciting. A voting system limited to 44 time and diatonic Western scales won’t give the most accurate results; but upon refinement, it would be really cool to see what people choose out of a list of “dissonant” pitches, or how repetition and symmetry might be affected with varying time signatures and more avant-garde chord progressions underneath.

Head over and have a listen to the tune so far, and vote for the next note.

What do you think? Is crowdsourcing a valuable tool for making music? What possibilities could evolve from a project like this one? Let us know in the comments below!

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