5 thoughts on “of music & metadata

  1. bowerbird

    > If we think of the text of a book as data,
    > the title and author are metadata, as is the publisher.
    well, if you think of the body of the car as “data”, then the
    engine is “meta-data”. but why would you want to do that?
    the “text” of the book — its “data” — specifically includes
    the title and the author, and perhaps even the publisher…
    it also includes the year of publication, and much more —
    like the table of contents, list of illustrations, and so on,
    even other stuff such as the language used, which can be
    ascertained programatically by an analysis of the words —
    and there’s no reason to consider all this to be “meta-data”.
    an intelligent scraping program should be able to generate
    all the cataloging information needed from the “data/text” of
    the book itself, assuming you structure that data correctly…

  2. dan visel

    Two other data points:
    1) One might note the British musician Minotaur Shock’s extremely complicated pricing scheme on his new album, where he’s come up with track-by-track pricing schemes based on a number of factors which he explains at great length: essentially adding more metadata to each track.
    2) And another instance of the music/metadata split can be found in Alex Ross’s The Rest Is Noise where he describes how a piece by Kryszstof Penderecki was taken by the Polish authorities of 1960:

    When Penderecki produced a floridly experimental piece called 8’37” â?? an affair of shrieking cluster chords, sputtering streams of pizzicato, siren-like glissandos, and other Xenakis-like sounds â?? officialdom took a favorable view only when someone suggested that the work be retitled Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. It went on to have a successful career in the West.

    (pp. 459â??460.) One suspects that viewers ofThe Shining aren’t generally aware that Jack Nicholson’s madness is soundtracked by something that’s nominally about Hiroshima. Maybe it’s relevant when it’s used as part of the last scene of Children of Men?

  3. Brett Bobley

    Terrific post, Dan. This notion of “music without metadata” is a fascinating one. As another example, I would suggest that the move from vinyl to CD to digital download has, in some ways, distanced us from the metadata. When I transitioned from vinyl to CD in the late 80’s, I started to notice that I no longer knew the titles of songs. It dawned on me that the difference was the medium. When listening to a favorite record, I was forced to pick up the record and flip it. While flipping it over, your eyes will naturally scan not only the titles on the record, but the grooves. You would make a connection between the two — the big, fat groove on side one of Atomizer is “Kerosene.” The very physicality of the vinyl and the flipping over served to reinforce the names, the length, and the sounds of the tracks. Once I moved to CD, you rarely handled the disk. CD’s are longer, so you listen for a long time without referring to the jacket, hence forgetting which song is which. You couldn’t “see” the songs or physical tracks (the CD is hidden inside a machine whereas the record is ON a machine). Digital download goes even further — there’s no physicality at all. No cover, no track listing. Nothing to visualize about the track (music may be aural but its metadata is visual). To this day I can tick off the titles on my favorite vinyl LPs from the 70’s but have trouble remembering any track names on more recent digital or CD albums — even ones that I listen to over and over.

  4. Gary Frost

    Now let’s use the Kindle to comparison shop between print and screen. (You will need to bring up both your screens.) McCleery, History of the Book is $32.35 new print, $28.76 Kindle screen and $24.62 “used and new” print.
    Now let’s bring up the first page of the index in print and search on Kindle screen. Now let’s search “Ambrose” knowing we can find Augustine’s remark on the saint’s silent reading.
    Now let’s mention what we saw; on screen an excerpt with a location marker, in print the indented remark, embedded in text, recto and topic break verso of the spread all below chapter heads. For some reason this physical configuration is remembered. “Writing, authority, and the individual” and “From Orality to Literacy”

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