Dave Soldier and Komar ∓ Melamid:
The People's Choice Music


The Most Wanted Song

a musical work that will be unavoidably and uncontrollably liked by 72±12% of listeners

The Most Unwanted Song

fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population will enjoy this


Notes by the Composer

This survey confirms the hypothesis that today's popular music indeed provides an accurate estimate of the wishes of the vox populi. The most favored ensemble, determined from a rating by participants of their favorite instruments in combination, comprises a moderately sized group (three to ten instruments) consisting of guitar, piano, saxophone, bass, drums, violin, cello, synthesizer, with low male and female vocals singing in rock/r∓b style. The favorite lyrics narrate a love story, and the favorite listening circumstance is at home. The only feature in lyric subjects that occurs in both most wanted and unwanted categories is intellectual stimulation. Most participants desire music of moderate duration (approximately 5 minutes), moderate pitch range, moderate tempo, and moderate to loud volume, and display a profound dislike of the alternatives. If the survey provides an accurate analysis of these factors for the population, and assuming that the preference for each factor follows a Gaussian (i.e. bell-curve) distribution, the combination of these qualities, even to the point of sensory overload and stylistic discohesion, will result in a musical work that will be unavoidably and uncontrollably liked by 72 plus or minus 12% (standard deviation; Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic) of listeners.

The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children's choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commercials and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece.

Art for the people
Your pal, Dave Soldier
June 1997

Here is a Powerpoint file with the statistical Figures


Credits

Composed by Dave Soldier
Lyrics by Nina Mankin
Executive Producer: Charles Simonyi
Produced by Jane Bausman
Recorded by Rory Young at Big House Studios and Acme Recording Studio
Featuring Vernon Reid On Guitar

The Most Wanted Song:
Female vocal: Ada Dyer
Male vocal: Ronnie Gent
Guitar: Vernon Reid
Saxophone: Andy Snitzer
Cello: Lisa Haney
Keyboards/violin/drums: Dave Soldier
Additional drums: Rory Young
Bass drum: Komar & Melamid
The Most Unwanted Song:
Soprano: Dina Emerson
Speaking vocal: Nina Mankin
Children: Emma Ensign, Kate Polsky, Max Polsky
Piccolo/flute: Elissa Kleeman
Harmonica: Wade Schuman
Bagpipe: David Watson
Accordion: Yuri Lemeshev
Harp: Margerie Fitts
Organ: Mary Bopp
Banjo: Dave Soldier
Tuba: David Grego
Percussion: Christine Bard
Bass drum: Komar & Melamid
Conductor: Norman Yamada





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