I recently completed work on a web application that is a portal to the discovery of new music by composers that are currently living or who have been active in the last half century: the Living Music Database.

My vision is for it to be a valuable way for people to find contemporary classical or electroacoustic recordings. Inspiration for the project came from my own desire to find new music to listen to, something I had neglected and had trouble doing as a student.

To accomplish this I created an algorithm that utilizes the Google Knowledge Graph and Wikipedia APIs to gather a database of composers. Then for each of these composers, available recordings from both iTunes and Spotify are linked. No actual music is stored in this database, just a method to sample the tracks using each service’s 30-60 second sound samples along with links to the respective albums or artist pages.

Features

  • Landing Page
    • The first page a user lands on displays sets of five random tracks and composers along with a list of the most recently release albums.
  • Composers List
    • A searchable list of all of the composers in the database in case the user would like to see what is available by one of their favorite composers. (Or to just browse for those they may never have heard of)
  • Individual Composer pages
    • Each composer has a page with the information gathered about them.
    • Description: If a description was available from the Google Knowledge Graph, it is shown here.
    • Links to the composer’s home, Wikipedia, iTunes, and Spotify pages (if available).
    • Some statistics including the number of user favorites, their Spotify popularity, and the total number of recordings found.
    • Tags: a list of tags related to style and genre. These are not meant to be written in stone and will hopefully evolve to paint a better picture of what the composer’s music may be like in the future. (Need some crowd-sourcing eventually here)
    • Albums: a searchable list of all of the recordings by this composer.