Friday, February 12, 2010

Dialing the desired emotions in your music...

One evolutionary rationale for the origin of music is that it enhances and amplifies basic emotional states to amplify social bonding and cohesion, creating an emotional resonance that spreads through and binds a group to share joy, anger, sadness, kindness, etc. Thus I was fascinated upon receiving an email from folks who have made a new widget that appears to tap some very ancient roots in a high-tech way - an iPhone App called Moodagent that lets you adjust touchscreen sliders labeled Sensual, Tender, Joy, Aggressive and Tempo to create playlists whose musical items correspond to the emotional mix you have specified. I have several thousand items in my iTunes music library, mostly classical performances I don't even remember putting there, totaling many more gigabytes than the iPhone has, and this App, with the assistance of a small bit of downloaded software, manages to scan my collection, and offer any of its items to a list of 25 pieces selected to fit the emotional mix I have requested. (I have no idea how it does this - something about 'the cloud'). I'm discovering all sort of music I didn't realize I had.  And, having been a person who has resolutely refused to work while listening to music I sit here (like my adult kids always have) doing just that, with a playlist having a high 'tender' setting.  Now let's see what happens if I ramp up the 'sensual setting.'  Here is a demo video:

Added note: A bit of web cruising yields this information on how that small downloaded App (Moodagent Profilter) has managed to let Moodagent draw items from my whole iTunes library.
Moodagent Profiler desktop app, like Apple’s Genius function, goes through your iTunes library and uploads anonymous information about your iTunes tracks to the Moodagent server. The more people who use the app and index their music, the better Moodagent’s database will get.

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