The Shape of Song

By: Jeff Clark    Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2006

Another interesting visualization by Martin Wattenberg is The Shape of Song. It illustrates the repetitive patterns in music using translucent arches that connect identical passages of notes. The following image shows one instrument track from the Beatles song 'We Can Work It Out'.

This java applet allows you to see many other examples. The visualization method was introduced in the paper Arc Diagrams: Visualizing Structure in Strings in 2002.

Perhaps poetry or lyrics from songs might have an interesting structure but I suspect most text data wouldn't have enough repetition at the token or word level for this idea to be fruitful. However, it might prove interesting to apply it on lower dimensional derived features of written english.


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