VisWeek Poster: Beatles Genome Project

Drew Skau

published on October 29, 2012 in Design

Just because we consume music mainly with our ears – not eyes – doesn’t mean it cannot be visualized. Douglas J. Mason, a data visualization professional and Beatles fan, created the Beatles Genome Project Part I and Part II.

Douglas did some complex clustering analysis on the chords, beat, and scale of the Beatles’ songs, inspired by techniques used in bioinformatics. One thing his analysis makes clear is that unusual chords are used by themselves as sort of accents or unique points in songs.

His analysis on the beats revealed that syncopation is more likely to occur in other parts of a song if it occurs in any part of a song.

His Scale Degree analysis is a little more complex. He identifies that most Beatles’ songs are in major mode, however there are subdivisions of this group based on which note in the scale is emphasized.

For a more in-depth analysis of Beatles’ songs, check out the Beatles Genome Project on his website.

Drew Skau, Visualization Architect at Check back here for more of his post VisWeek 2012 reports, and follow him on Twitter @SeeingStructure.