Friday, August 27, 2004

Serendipity and Collaborative Filtering


So we start coming to the real question - what is this site really about?

Trying to describe it for some blog listings set my mind going along the following paths.

I've been interested, used, and worked on the peripheries of Collaborative Filtering. Amazon.com/co.uk's Recommendations are both maddening and very useful, and I have to say I've bought or borrowed from the library many recommendations. Most of my knowledge of, and passion for classical music has come from the serendipity of switching on BBC's Radio 3 (before it was dumbed-down to the commercial benchmark), hearing a piece, and following that thread onwards. Like many I came to Mahler through the serendipidity of Visconti's Death in Venice in the early-70's, and the fact that the Mahlerian style was digestible to a graduate who had been living with the Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the Moody Blues for a few years. That's why I'm interested in musicplasma.com which I mentioned in an early post, it offers spontaneous links from one musicain to another.

On An Overgrown Path is an alternative to Collaborative Filtering. It is subjective, personal and non-scientific, but leads to the same destination of flagging up a piece of music, writing, or an event that the reader may not otherwise have encountered. The site will really work if it triggers postings that open up Overgrown Paths from some of my postings.

As I type Tallis' O Salutaris Hostia is playing. Why Tallis? Why the Elizabethan composers? Why are Shostakovich's symphonies a blind spot for me? Why do I need to hear a Bach fugue every day, but could live the rest of my life without hearing another Prokofiev Symphony? Why does John Fowles' The Magus still moves me? Why am I still stuck in 'rites of passage fiction? Coming to that why does Stravinsky's Rite of Spring mean less to me than an Elgar symphony?. My dream is to be able to work back from that CD and produce a map of every thread that led me to play it, every piece of music on route, and most importantly every fork that I took to reach it, and equally importantly the forks that I didn't take......

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both

I selfishly think that recreating even parts of that route may lead readers to similar delights and discoveries to those that fill my days with sunshine.

That is what On An Overgrown Path is about.

Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

1 comment:

Pliable said...

Six years on musicplasma.com, which is mentioned in this post, seems to have gone to the great server in the sky. But the collaborative filtering concept lives on -

http://www.nmcrec.co.uk/musicmap