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Ethnomusicologists Rejoice: Global Jukebox

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

The Global Jukebox, an online tool for exploring recordings of music and other performing arts from around the world, has now been made available to the general public and researchers.

The Global Jukebox includes traditional songs representing 1,026 societies. Many of the recordings were captured by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, who categorized them according to different features of musical style, such as number of singers, vocal embellishments, and various rhythmic and melodic qualities; 37 such features are now included for each of the 5,776 songs in the Global Jukebox dataset.

The researchers hope that the database will inspire and enable other researchers to conduct diverse, cross-cultural investigations of musical traditions and cultural evolution. To demonstrate, they used the database to examine the relationship between a society's level of sociopolitical complexity and key features of its songs, finding statistical correlations between the two; however more research will be needed to identify the underlying mechanisms.

In preparing the database for release, the researchers made efforts to ensure that it will support cultural equity in research projects that rely on its data. In addition, all recordings are only available to the extent that copyright and the preferences of culture-bearers allow.

Why not explore? Visit Global Jukebox

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