#30 Mission: Pandora

July 15, 2010

About 60 years ago, composers Pierre Boulez and John Cage fought with music. Boulez, thinking music the very sounds of math, arranged his music with mathematical complexity. John Cage, conversely, heard everything -- a squeak from a dry reed or a cough from someone in the audience -- as music with the improvised notes just as important as the planned ones. These musical greats embodied careening ends of the spectrum. In the end, a great irony arose with much of their music sounding the same.

Last May, you all shared what later became The Soundtrack of our Lives. Surrounding myself with both Amy's elevating music and the Soundtrack, I got to thinking about Pandora and their Music Genome Project. Each song or artist subjected to the Genome's algorithm triggers an association with another song or artist in an attempt to, as they say, "capture the essence of music." Here is a quick video explaining in more detail about how Pandora does this.

I thought we'd create our own Pandora station starting with The Soundtrack of our Lives.  Listen to the station in an attempt to figure out just what were Boulez and Cage really fighting about. Can you hear your selections and the essence of them on the station? I'd also like you to take a cue from Cage and think creatively about all the music in your lives. What constitutes your song? The coo and purr of the coffeemaker in the morning? Your significant others' cough?  Or as someone once described as one of their loves, "the sound of trains and coyotes at midnight"? Share your comments. Send a recording. Sing your song.

- Corey

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