Play a Game, Teach The Computer About Music

I love learning about these sites that create games that allow humans to teach computers. Last year I covered Google’s game that allows players to tag images from Google. Recently I learned about a game from UC San Diego, which has players tag/describe songs.

It’s called Listengame and it’s available at You’ll need to have Java enabled on your browser to play. You’ll also need to register to play (free). Once you’re registered, you can jump into a game. The games consist of rounds where you pick the best and worst word to describe a song out of a set. You can pick “Emotional content”, for example, or the best use of a song (reading, exercising, etc), or which instruments of a song are most prevalent. There’s also a “freestyle” round when you pick a word to describe a song.

You’re scored based on how many of your picks match the picks of the other people who are playing. At the end of the game (I would guess a whole game takes five or six minutes) you’re shown your score but ALSO which songs you were listening to (how about links back to eMusic or iTunes? I was getting into some of those songs.) I am weirdly good at this game.

I heard about this game by seeing a press release at the UCSD News Center that describes the game as well as where the people who came up with the game are hoping to go with it. Check out the press release for some links to scientific papers that discuss the thinking behind the game. There are new games to be released in 2007 and an e-mail address you can contact to learn when the games are released.

Fun to play, interesting to discover new music.

Categories: News