Data Analysis Of David Bowie’s Work Turned Into Music
Stats transformed into notes captures\ the emotional transformation in UK artist's music over the years.
David Bowie is the king of musical reinvention; for over 40 years he has created a collection of music that is difficult to pigeon-hole. Composer Alexis Kirke and electronic music pioneer Martyn Ware came together to analyze the data of Bowie’s shape-shifting oeuvre and created musical sonifications from the data to gain a greater understanding of one of the music industry’s greatest chameleons.
Sonifications are audio displays of non-sound data, such as heart rate monitors. Kirke and Ware searched for patterns in Bowie’s album sales and lyrics to translate them into music. They picked through numerical data and did statistical analyses of elements such as emotional content of lyrics and the usage of major and minor keys to determine how the singer’s music has transformed emotionally over time. The pair used a scientific database to search for positive words in the lyrics and negative words, that was then expressed through a hyperspeed piano. Kirke explained to Wired Magazie: