So this is my riddle. 

 

LIVE performance or ARTIFICIAL?

 

Can you tell which of these sound files contain "live performances" and which ones contain "synthetic" or computer generated music?

 

My hypothesis is that people will not consistently be able to tell the difference (Since there are seven examples, it would be extremely difficult to guess all of them correctly).

 

Pieces to be found at this link:

 

https://soundcloud.com/olmnilnlolm

 

(This is not my main music site, but just a place where I put fragments, works in progress and experimental bits of pieces—You will find all seven pieces in order, at the top, marked Piece 1, Piece 2, Piece 3, etc.)

 

Here is the basic information for the experiment:  

 

1.  I have produced a collection of seven sound files.  (It would be too easy to guess if I just gave you two or three).

 

2.  Some files contain "live performances."

 

3.  Some contain music produced synthetically, using midis and computer software.

 

4.  Each sound file is representing music played by two or more pianos.  No instruments other than pianos are represented.

 

5.   Background noise is inserted into each file.  [Each file begins with a recording of applause, and an announcer saying,

 

"Well, I promise you, this is the piece everyone here tonight has come to experience." 

 

What follows is an overlapping sound file containing the background noise of an attentive audience.  Chair movements, people shifting in their seats, a phone or two beeping, various human noises and other sounds, are part of the environment of each file (so that no noise can serve as a tell tale sign to indicate any sonic difference the between "live" and artificial performance). ]

 

6.  All music, whether artificially produced or performed live, comes from known composers, names taken from this rather long list of modern and contemporary composers.   (Source:  University of Cambridge Music Library)  

 

http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/Departments/Music/moderncomposers.html

 

Listeners may find the tonality of all the selections rather challenging.  None of the works are in a simple traditional or pre-modern diatonic mode.   There is deliberate dissonance, often going beyond mere polytonality and even standard dodecaphony.

 

7.  No other information or hints need be given to those who listen to the sound files.

 

Forum members are asked if they can tell the difference between the sound files containing "live performances," and those which contain "simulated" or "artificial" music, produced by the computer software.

 

Again, there are seven musical examples. They are short. These are selections only, lasting approximately one minute.

 

So can you tell which is which?

 

LIVE performance, or ARTIFICIAL performance?

 

Piece 1

 

Piece 2

 

Piece 3

 

Piece 4

 

Piece 5

 

Piece 6

 

Piece 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Replies

  • Comments in this post, made in connection with remarks by Bob, Fredrick, Mariza and Tim (Tim Lawler).  [Welcome, Tim].

     

    Fredrick, I hope you will answer the question posed in capital letters below (a new question, if you can believe it).

     

    Bob, I think Fredrick might be the only person here who does not understand what has been going on during this conversation.

     

    First, he might not understand, as you and I do, that this experiment reveals the total and absolutely indisputable truth about the ability of ALL PEOPLE (with no exceptions) to perceive the difference between the two types of sound files.

     

    Secondly, as far as I can tell, Fredrick does not seem to understand that this experiment was designed and intended to be a flawless test, which would reveal (and which has revealed) with absolute and 100 percent certainty, the nature of human aural and cultural perception for all times.

     

    I am still unable to decide whether Fredrick understands that the total and complete reliability of the test, in all circumstances, for all human beings, in all circumstances, was based on the exact same set of standards that are used, by people that he might actually know, to formulate public opinion surveys in order to market products for mass distribution.

     

    I am not sure if Fredrick understands all this, as you obviously do.  (And you were not "lucky," of course.  The odds against your having been lucky are simply too high, as Mariza has pointed out).

     

    In spite of all this, Fredrick is an amazing fellow.  There is a great deal that he does appear to understand.  He seems to have "seen through me" and come to the profound realization that when I use the word "people" I do not, and cannot be referring to people on Composers' Forum.  That has to be impossible. How could a conversation about "people" here have anything to do with any individuals on Composers' Forum, or even be remotely connected with the participants in the "experiment"?   He knows that I am really referring to extraterrestrial beings that inhabit several artificial spheres hidden deep within the rings of the planet Saturn (though how he figured this out, I will never know).

     

    Fredrick has also realized that this test is so ultimately paradigmatically hyper-meaningless (in the dialectical sense), that it actually possesses negative non-meaning, generated in direct response to his penetrating analysis, which elevates the total meaning of the "test," by negating its reverse non-insignificance, to unprecedentedly high pseudo-levels of exteriority.  

     

    Fredrick has proven conclusively—it is my opinion this might be an absolute fact—that you can ignore any argument provided by any one else, and simply repeat your point of view over and over as if no one else in the universe existed, and that you can consider yourself as having achieved something.

     

    But the real test for Fredrick (who for some reason failed to take the little test proposed by this experiment) is for him to learn to answer questions, rather than ignoring them.

     

    So I would invite him to answer this question (since he doesn't want to answer any of my other questions, or respond to any of my numerous replies to his oft repeated bullet points).   Can he answer this, instead?

     

     

    Question:

     

    IF GOD CLAPS ONE HAND IN THE MIDST OF A RAZED FOREST, HOW MANY ANGELS MUST DANCE ON THE HEAD OF A PIN, (AND HOW LOUDLY MUST THEY DANCE?) BEFORE THE AVERAGE LISTENER WILL BE UNABLE TO DISTINGUISH A DIVINELY INSPIRED RECORDED LIVE PERFORMANCE FROM AN ARTIFICIAL SOUND FILE CREATED BY THE MIND OF THE UNMANIFEST BUDDHA?

     

    --------

     

    Note to Mariza.  Don't worry.  I don't know who Chip and Dale are either.   And I am a US citizen ! 

     

     

    -------------

     

    "Reply by (Tim) Tim Lawler

     

    "O., I listened to each sample file and enjoyed them all.  In my listening experience piano is the hardest instrument to differentiate between an acoustic source and an artificial one (given that the artificial is well executed, as here).  ... That said, there are some instruments I've never heard a realistic artificial depiction of."

     

    I'm glad you enjoyed them.  If you haven't seen "the answers" yet, you might want to post your answer to the question, which sound files contain recordings of "live performances" and which sound files contain only artificial performances?  I would be interested in your answers.  Your contribution would inevitably add to our effort to settle once and for all, in accordance with the strictest of scientific standards, the question under discussion.  If you want to say which sound file you enjoyed the most, and why, that would be welcome too.  Thanks for commenting.    

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Mariza, that is an interesting challenge. I will consider it more when things

    slow down for me and I have time to fully address it.

    In the mean time, please don't wait... get those headphones.

    ps- Chip and Dale, the cartoon.... not the dancers :-}  RS  (respectfully satirical)

  • Thank you, Roger.

    I believe it's a worthwhile endeavor that could benefit many, but please make sure that actual insight is provided in way of the lyrics and/or instrumental work.

    I hope that inspiration will befall you when indeed you find the time "to fully address it".

    Thank you, and yes, I'm on my way to Kennelly Keys to get my new headphones.

    Mariza

    roger stancill said:

    Mariza, that is an interesting challenge. I will consider it more when things

    slow down for me and I have time to fully address it.

    In the mean time, please don't wait... get those headphones.

    ps- Chip and Dale, the cartoon.... not the dancers :-}  RS  (respectfully satirical)

  • O., I can't tell which of these files were recorded with microphones and which were artificially produced.  For me, piano is unique in the way its sound lends itself to artificial reproduction.  
    Olmn said:


    I'm glad you enjoyed them.  If you haven't seen "the answers" yet, you might want to post your answer to the question, which sound files contain recordings of "live performances" and which sound files contain only artificial performances?  I would be interested in your answers.  Your contribution would inevitably add to our effort to settle once and for all, in accordance with the strictest of scientific standards, the question under discussion.  If you want to say which sound file you enjoyed the most, and why, that would be welcome too.  Thanks for commenting.    

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Note to Mariza.  Don't worry.  I don't know who Chip and Dale are either.   And I am a US citizen !

    If I ever do take a US citizenship test, I am ready for this one question.

  • For some people, that's the whole point under discussion.

    Practically NO ONE can tell the difference. 

    If you say, you can't tell the difference, then I suggest that adds more evidence to the data pile.  

    Can we all say, therefore, we are all even more sure now that people cannot tell the difference than we were before?

    Tim Lawler said:

    O., I can't tell which of these files were recorded with microphones and which were artificially produced.  For me, piano is unique in the way its sound lends itself to artificial reproduction.  


  • Yes, if the question is amended to "Can you tell which is which?  Live PIANO performance or artificial?"

    Olmn said:

    For some people, that's the whole point under discussion.

    Practically NO ONE can tell the difference. 

    If you say, you can't tell the difference, then I suggest that adds more evidence to the data pile.  

    Can we all say, therefore, we are all even more sure now that people cannot tell the difference than we were before?

    Tim Lawler said:

    O., I can't tell which of these files were recorded with microphones and which were artificially produced.  For me, piano is unique in the way its sound lends itself to artificial reproduction.  


  • Roger may be quite correct in his evaluation of "Chip and Dale."  I seem to remember them very vaguely now, after looking at their likenesses, using google image search.  I'll say a bit more about them later, and how they do turn out to be very relevant to this thread.

     

    I thought I'd delete my last short post, revise and put in more relevant, recent information.  Tim said, "I can't tell which of these files were recorded with microphones and which were artificially produced. ..."  We might say that adds more data to the pool.  If Tim's results are tallied, that would change the final overall averages.  Given all the responses provided so far, we now know that participants determined correctly 47 percent of the time which of the sound files contain recordings of live performances and which contain virtual performances.  That appears to confirm more strongly the hypothesis, which states that people cannot tell the difference, with odds being about 50-50 of getting the right answer.  [This new average includes Bob Porter's perfect score as well, which might be considered anomalous].

     

    I think Fredrick has already conceded almost all of his arguments, if we go by Roberts Rules of Order, and the general rule, "Silence is consent."  I mean silence is consent, in that Fredrick refused to answer my refutations of his criticisms, and also refused to deal with some comments made by Mariza and Bob as well.  He merely repeated his points over, in bullet form, as questions which had already been answered, without addressing any replies to his initial critique.  People can review the counter-arguments, here if they like, and determine themselves whether Fredrick actually answered any of them.  If there is any significant argument that Fredrick did make, that I did not address, I don't mind having someone point it out, so that any confusion can be cleared up.  [Two Links and first lines of the relevant posts are listed below].

     

    "I made a brief summary of the errors that Fredrick might have made."

    http://tinyurl.com/I-made-a-summary

     

    "I hope you answer the previous question, Fredrick."

    http://tinyurl.com/I-hope-you-answer

     

    I would still like to know if only two people keeled over dead, because they could not distinguish a mushroom from a toadstool, whether Fredrick, being third in line, would eat the next bowl of fungi.   In this kind of contest, only Bob Porter has shown he has a nearly certain chance of surviving.

     

    Tim says, the experiment only proves that people can't tell the difference only when pianos are involved.  I can't disagree with that, though I do ask whether people think other real instruments might be just as difficult to distinguish from virtual instruments, such as harps; and whether the list of instruments will grow longer as time goes on.

     

    I think it may be someone else's turn (perhaps Fredrick's) to design his or her own experiment, or a similar one, either to prove the opposite of the hypothesis demonstrated here, or some similar thesis.  It's one thing to assert that an "experiment" has no meaning at all; it's another to prove something yourself, which I don't think Fredrick has done.  He won't even answer the questions about "what evidence do you have," "what studies, research, data" do you know about that demonstrates an opposing proposition?

     

    I believe that members of the forum who have watched this conversation, even those who think it is impossible to draw a strong conclusion from the data, will concede at least this much:  the results obtained so far do cast doubt on the proposition:  "People can consistently and with ease tell the difference between sound files containing recordings of live performances and those which contain virtual performances."

     

    The posting of the "Chip and Dale" link is appropriate, because just as most people will not find it easy to distinguish Chip from Dale, from a cursory glance, they will not find it easy to distinguish the real from the virtual sound, as time passes.  [Of course, if you look very closely, depending upon the specific cartoon depiction, their teeth are shaped differently— yet who knows if they are identical or fraternal twins, or if one just wasn't able to get braces as a young chipmunk].  

    The Experiment: Can you tell which is which? LIVE performance or ARTIFICIAL?
        So this is my riddle.    LIVE performance or ARTIFICIAL?   Can you tell which of these sound files contain live performances and which ones con…
  • Ondib,

    I got the impression that you have a very good grasp of statistical concepts.  There has been work done exploring what can and cannot be inferred from extremely small samples, and what degree of confidence can be associated with those inferences.  So, if I may, I would encourage you to seek out that work, take a bit of time understanding it, and then see how you could apply it to the results of this (small sample) test.  I do intuitively agree with you that, if great discernment between A and L was a common trait for this type of music, we wouldn't be seeing results like we did, even in a small sample.  And I wouldn't eat any of those foraged mushrooms.  But I don't have the time really to dedicate to taking the statistical analysis into where it really should be taken.  I think you can do it, perhaps even better than I can, so I'd suggest you go ahead if you have a bit of time.

    Mariza

  • Olmn said:

    [...]

    I believe that members of the forum who have watched this conversation, even those who think it is impossible to draw a strong conclusion from the data, will concede at least this much:  the results obtained so far do cast doubt on the proposition:  "People can consistently and with ease tell the difference between sound files containing recordings of live performances and those which contain virtual performances."

     [...]

    Whoa, hold it right there.  This is a non-sequitor.  The actual conclusion one may reasonably draw from this "experiment" is that "people could not consistently tell the difference between these set of 7 files containing variously-manipulated and modified recordings of live and virtual performances".  Your statement above is an unfounded extrapolation based on assumptions that so far do not have any evidence to back them up.

    Please don't make these willy-nilly leaps to conclusions and stating them as fact when there is in fact insufficient evidence to do so. It's only hurting your credibility, and makes it appear as if you've already settled in your mind the desired result, and the whole "experiment" is merely a ruse to obtain plausible evidence to back up the predetermined result.  I'm not saying this is what you're doing, of course, but what you said gives the appearance that this is what you're doing.  If you value your credibility, I'd advise you to refrain from saying such things until you have actual evidence to back up your claims.

    The Experiment: Can you tell which is which? LIVE performance or ARTIFICIAL?
        So this is my riddle.    LIVE performance or ARTIFICIAL?   Can you tell which of these sound files contain live performances and which ones con…
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