In 1957, Arthur C. Clarke predicted the automated content-based analysis of music (so prevalent in field of Music Information Retrieval today) in the short story called The Ultimate Melody. In this story, scientist Gilbert Lister:

"took hundreds of the really famous tunes in classical and popular music and analysed their structure - their morphology, as he put it. This was done automatically by a big harmonic analyser that sorted out all of the frequencies.

It is a cautionary tale however, not all goes well for Gilbert, MIR researchers should take heed.

The Ultimate Melody can be found in Tales from the White Hart published in 1957. (Thanks to Sun Labs' Tim Curry for pointing me to this story).


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