Great talk: How to Solve a song

Here’s my favorite talk from last month’s Seattle Ignite 12 – How to Solve a Song, by Karen Cheng.

The video doesn’t do it justice – which happens sometimes (any theories? leave in the comments).

Not sure if it’s that the audience energy isn’t picked up well in her microphone, or what, but this was awesome to see live. If you get bored, jump to the medley around the 3 minute mark:

(Btw: submissions now open for Seattle ignite 13)

8 Responses to “Great talk: How to Solve a song”

  1. Steve L

    Totally awesome, I wish I’d been there to see it.

    It would be good to know what slides (if any) she was using for the second half of the talk. Matching the slides to the music would have been an interesting challenge.

  2. frizztext

    at 4:28 I started to smile, let it be all the same one and only song … very humorous!

  3. BP

    Hm. What’s interesting to me is what this says about how ideas move in society. As Pablo mentioned, it has long been noted that many songs share a similar chord structure. Here’s another example of the medley trick, from 2006: And from a music theory perspective, she is presenting a pretty over-simplified idea of consonance, more or less what you teach college freshmen who don’t know anything about music.

    In short, this is old stuff. She’s nowhere near the frontier in creativity or knowledge. Yet her audience has presumably never encountered these ideas, and she’s doing a great job of catching people’s imaginations – you posted the video because you found it fascinating, and see Rich’s response too.

    I guess what I find fascinating is how the difference between “old hat” and “brilliant” here is almost purely a function of the audience.



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