About this project
New goal: $30,000!
Thanks to the support of all our wonderful backers, we've reached our initial goal of $15,000, and would love to take this even further!
With additional funding we will be able to add new analytical tools, including a Virtual Dynamic Coding Sheet, which gives the user access to a powerful Similarity application with which one may compare individual and modal performances and discover their similarities and differences. A Patterns application, also controlled by the user with the Virtual Dynamic Coding Sheet, will locate, map, and chart the distribution of musical traits throughout the world.
About the Global Jukebox Song Tree
Please support the Association for Cultural Equity (ACE) in its effort to complete the Global Jukebox Song Tree: an innovative, free online resource that will allow people to listen to and explore the traditional music and culture of the world in ways never before possible. The Song Tree contains over 5,900 carefully selected, analyzed, and coded songs representing over 600 cultures from around the world and has much to tell us about ourselves, our communities, and the whole of human culture.
Your contribution will help complete the programming, verify the metadata related to each song, and bring the Song Tree online. Donors will be given early access to the Song Tree when it reaches the beta stage and before it is publicly launched. If you're a fan of the world's traditional cultures, and are interested in supporting new technologies designed to increase appreciation of those cultures, then please consider a contribution.
Folklorist Alan Lomax made a lifelong study of the hidden language of the performing arts. A giant in the field of folk music since the 1930s, Lomax - with his team of scholars, scientists, and researchers - collected, analyzed, and coded thousands of examples of world music, dance and speech. In 1989, these studies were compiled in a multimedia platform called the Global Jukebox.
Lomax dreamed that the Jukebox would be a vital research tool for students and allow people everywhere to access and appreciate their distinctive heritage on an equal basis. The Global Jukebox software - which presaged many aspects of the Internet - was originally designed to teach music appreciation, math, science, and geography through a cross-cultural analysis of expressive style. It was tested in high schools in the early 1990s, providing a holistic educational approach to music, dance, and culture, as well as a scientific resource, giving researchers the opportunity to explore data and test hypotheses using global performance-style studies.
Here’s a video of the Global Jukebox in its original form.
Poor health forced Alan Lomax to retire before he could complete the work, but thanks to his daughter, Anna Lomax Wood, and a small group of friends, collaborators, and foundations, the original programming has been recovered and new applications are being developed to bring the Global Jukebox online in time for Lomax's centennial in 2015.
In 2007 Richard Smith, our consulting senior programmer, extracted and normalized the performance style and culture datasets from the original software. From 2010 he has been undertaking the programming work necessary to meet our current project goals.
Our data visualization consultant Jeff Feddersen created a dynamic, interactive graphic interface - The Global Jukebox Song Tree - during the 2013 grant period. This year he will continue to make refinements, and fix bugs to prepare it for launch.
Here’s the full walkthrough of the Global Jukebox Song Tree work in progress:
Why Are We Doing A Kickstarter?
ACE is curator of the Alan Lomax Archive, an esteemed collection of recorded music, dance, and the spoken word. Our mission is to foster cultural equity through preservation, publication, and repatriation of our materials. We practice cultural feedback by freely distributing thousands of recordings, photos and videos through our website and various social networking outlets, and in partnership with institutional and educational partners.
Over these past several years we have relied on a series of small grants, donations and other material support to facilitate the complicated programming and other work on the Global Jukebox. Among our partners and supporters are the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, The Rock Foundation, Odyssey Productions, Inc., and a private family foundation. Most of our grant awards requires matching funding and we are doing this Kickstarter campaign to secure those matches.
In the same spirit of research and discovery in which the Global Jukebox was initially conceived, we are well into the process of modernizing and upgrading the software and data, using new technologies and free internet access in order to provide users of all ages with ways of exploring and enjoying musical and cultural connections from all over the world, as well as from their own communities.
Our production process, funded through this Kickstarter campaign, will be split into the following areas:
- Metadata Our team of four part-time students and recent graduates will continue their work to update the metadata and ensure that the database is completed for the launch. Metadata includes location of recording and lat./long.; culture name and lat./long.; song name, song genre; collector; recording year; information about culture; publisher; publication name; repository and collection name; library information.
- Programming Our two programmer consultants will finalize the data visualization needed for the presentation of The Global Jukebox Song Tree. Among the programming to be accomplished: Fix text boxes, pull down menus, and prompts (appearance, size, content, functionality, accents); Debug map; Add search function (culture names, locations, collectors, genres); update map to show country names; add 1,400 more audio files and 500 new codings; visualize the statistical analysis data on the map and charts; test all features, fix any bugs.
- Beta version uploaded The beta version of the Song Tree will be uploaded and made available to our donors. Feedback from donors will be addressed by programmers.
- Launching the Finalized Version After a period of testing and feedback we will publicly launch the Global Jukebox Song Tree for free online use. All donors, unless they wish otherwise, will be thanked and listed on our web site.
- Timeline Metadata and programming work will continue for 10 to 12 months. We plan to have the beta version online by the third quarter of 2015.
- Rewards Rewards for all tiers, other than the early access to the beta version, will be shipped within 15 days of the end of the Kickstarter campaign.
Risks and challenges
The Global Jukebox Song Tree carries risks like any major programming project. Our programming team has been at work on this project for some time, are familiar with the challenges and are experienced in delivering complicated steps of the project on time and within the specifications.
We are confident that we can achieve what have proposed. Still, we understand we can't guarantee that we will be able to make the beta version available by the third quarter of 2015. Programming delays or errors can set back timelines. If you do make a pledge to the Global Jukebox project you are doing it knowing that there is a risk that it could be delayed. We can guarantee that we are putting all of our energies into this project and that we'll be honest and transparent about our progress throughout the duration. Donors will be given updates as the work progresses and early access to the Song Tree when it is ready, even it is later than projected. All other reward tiers will be shipped within 15 days of the end of the Kickstarter campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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