(Apologies in advance: this post largely concerns the Microsoft Songsmith meme, which I’ve only just found out about and am emailing at 1:03am because it seemed more important than sleep.  If you’ve heard it all before then feel free to ignore this and carry on with your life.)

OK, so those wacky boffins in at Microsoft Research have developed a new product called Songsmith – the idea is that you sing the melody line of your new song into your PC, and it calculates a supporting chord structure and accompaniment around it to give you a song of your very own.  To spice it up a bit you can tweak various dials/sliders for extra jazziness, grunginess, etc.  On the whole you can see where it might be a fairly handy tool for someone with the nugget of a song idea but without the wherewithal or enough knowledgeable friends about to actually construct playable music – technology can now allow the beauty of a song to propogate no matter what it’s source.

The advertisement can be found here:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=3oGFogwcx-E

In much the same way as you – no doubt, as I do – find yourself wondering when watching distinguished contemporary critical culture showcase such as “The X Factor” or “[Generic] Idol”, “Compared with the musical skills of the youth today, my favourite band seems comparatively talentless, and I’m certain that if they were judged in a modern-day setting rather than as a popular product of their time that perhaps they wouldn’t hold the same appeal… would they?”.

Well wonder no longer – some great internet-based visionaries of the day have answered this question for us, by applying a reverse-karaoke technique to many of our much loved classic songs, then taking the vocal track and seeing just how the state of the art techniques embodied in Songsmith would construct an appropriate supporting tune.

Feel free to attempt to enjoy these…

Eye Of The Tiger / Survivor
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_V1DuHUs22Q

Buddy Holly / Weezer
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ3em9v0-kc

Creep / Radiohead
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=JM1GUk1SBmY

I Heard It Through The Grapevine / Marvin Gaye
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=XyYfTips5yc

Wonderwall / Oasis
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=e1e_h1OJfS4

Roxanne / The Police
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ypycpKQxXR0

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The Beatles
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=9BZk6aZp9xE

There’s many more out there, and increasing by the day I’d guess, but enough to give you the idea.  From that brief sample you can see that the tunes are engaging, original, and catchy.  With any luck, Songsmith will catch on and reshape the face of the music business – vapid pillocks will be able to publish music on their own rather than by dragging in their tedious quasi-talented mates, meaning that their TV appearences will only be fractionally as irritating due to the viewer being subjected to a lower oxygen-thieving headcount.  Having the ability to publish one’s work on the internet means that the parasite support business can discover their “new in thing” far faster than previously, thus get on with the business of lording it over the punters that there’s a newer and even hipper thing going on than they already knew about – which the punters respond to by babbling and frothing about, leaving the parasites to get on with the task of generating interest in the next wannabe (on the basis that up-and-comers are cheaper to book/gain access to than artists with a profile).  It doesn’t really matter what the music sounds like, as the songs never have any longevity anyway.

Have I just pushed my own “rant” button?  Wow.  Looks like I’m not the only one, however.

Edit: turns out that most of these fits of genius were propelled into the world by azz100c.  Credit where credit’s due…