Thursday, March 7, 2013

Seeker to Uploader Ratios and Botsites

Sandra -psychosandra- Holmbom

It's tough sometimes to transpose tabs for the uke, believe it or not the majority of uke tabs for certain tunes are software-generated and often wrong. Something about the different ratios of uke-playing uploaders to uke-learning tab-seekers.

Is it because advertisers are more likely to generate botsites for services with higher seeker-to-uploader ratios?

I play the guitar. I also play the ukulele. I don't have much of an idea what I'm doing when I'm trying to figure out how to play a song that I like, as I've always been able to reference a guitar magazine, or because I've always tried to play pretty easy songs with simple chords.

Nowadays, I like to play the uke, and I like to play 7th chords, 9th chords, etc. When I want to learn a song on my uke, I look for online tabs, as I'm sure everyone does. In so doing, I've found that, for certain kinds of songs - typically older songs, like prior to the rise in popularity of the uke (~2010's) - the tabs that can be sourced-up are way off, if not totally wrong. What I usually end up doing, is to look for guitar tabs, and transpose them (which isn't very easy for someone like myself who never really learned music properly). Luckily, I learned some basic music theory in my initial years of guitar playing, and it's been relatively easy to augment that learning, at least enough to meet my needs of detecting the accuracy of my own transpositions.

*The ukulele, though it is a stringed instrument and it looks exactly like a small guitar, requires a different tablature than guitar. The strings are GCEA, not EADGBE, which makes the fingerings of the chords completely different.

Ukulele Makers, fiddle and uke playing robot

There's something about the guitar that makes it easy to seem like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. And the same goes for the uke, even moreso (simply because it has less strings). The uke rose to popularity only recently, and therefore after the rise of the internet and the death of hard-won knowledge (if I had the internet of today when I was learning guitar twenty years ago, I would never have tried to figure out songs by myself, and I would have understood much less of music theory because of it.) Players learning the uke today (and looking for or potentially uploading tabs), then would be less likely to have to learn as much to get by as a guitar-player of twenty years ago.

So the ukulele is somewhat easier to play due to both it's lesser number of strings, but also because of the means with which to learn new songs on it (which expands playing-availability to a wider audience of non-musically-trained players).

Finally, the guitar is a more widespread instrument than the uke, which brings with it more players who might know what they're doing, and tabulate and upload songs for others to learn from.

I speculate that these things make it less likely that a uke-player would be as equipped to decode songs as compared to a guitar player, and that this leads to less songs being tabulated and uploaded. Pound-for-pound, the numbers would be way off, but taken as a ratio of (real) uploaders to people searching for uploads, the uke ratio must look way different than that of the guitar. Also, for some reason, I say that a guitar player would be less likely to run a simple search rather than going to a trusted source (due to being more of a professional player? serious speculation here based on loose ideas of the comparative profiles of guitar-vs-uke players, I understand).

Mike and Jarvis' reggae-playing Ukulego robots 

Overall, when looking at the cyber-uke-sphere, it just smells like fertile soil for a place like a tab-generating robot to entice hapless players.

And though I may not know music very well, and I don't know how to actually program a robot, it can't be that hard to make a botsite that restates your search via a songtitle-corrector, a lyric-matcher, and a cache of chord names and respective key groupings.

It's just too bad they can't figure out how to actually decode the songs for us instead of just pretending to do it.

One day, Leonard B. Meyers will be proud...
Music, the Arts and Ideas, Leonard B. Meyers, 1967: Music as a Learned Probability System

Sandra -psychosandra- Holmbom

...something else about the chronologically stipulated evolution of the instruments respective to that of the internet...kind of like what happened to the ampersand in English vs. French, but not really.

Technologically-mediated cultural artifacts of both the ampersand and tab-generator software, see below.
The Ampersand
October 2012

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