What makes good music?

What makes good music?

HIT songs are big business, so there is an incentive for composers to try to tease out those ingredients that might increase their chances of success. This, however, is hard. Songs are complex mixtures of features. How to analyse them is not obvious and is made more difficult still by the fact that what is popular changes over time. But Natalia Komarova, a mathematician at the University of California, Irvine, thinks she has cracked the problem. As she writes in Royal Society Open Science this week, her computer analysis suggests that the songs currently preferred by consumers are danceable, party-like numbers. Unfortunately, those actually writing songs prefer something else.

Dr Komarova and her colleagues collected information on music released in Britain between 1985 and 2015. They looked in public repositories of music “metadata” that are used by music lovers and are often tapped into by academics. They compared what they found in these repositories with...Continue reading