Lady Gaga and Bach have more in common than you thought

Classical radio station has built a tool to translate your favourite music into classical music

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 — Most people don't know much about classical music, and if you are one of them, then Klarafy is the perfect tool for you. Klarafy is a new tool that has been launched by the Belgian classical radio station Klara. Klarafy 'translates' your personal musical tastes into classical music. It helps you to get to know classical music in an entirely new way. It’s not academic or chronological, but as personalised as you can imagine: it is based on your current musical tastes. 

Is Bowie on your playlist? If so, Klarafy might suggest La Bohème by Puccini. Lady Gaga will take you to Fugue no. 24 from Bach's 'The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I', music which Gaga quotes in her hit 'Bad Romance'. And if you like Queens of the Stone Age, you might also find Schubert's 'Andante con moto' to your liking. These are just three of the hundreds of revelations which Klarafy allows you to discover. The web tool also tells you exactly why you might like the selected compositions.

Your own personal tastes as a compass

Klarafy introduces you to the classical music which ties in best with your favourite music. To use it, you need a Spotify playlist containing your favourite songs: pop, rock, dance, electro... any genre is fine. Then go to klarafy.klara.be/en, select your Spotify playlist and your music will be 'klarafied'. Expect several pieces of classical music, and Klarafy will also tell you exactly why each piece was selected for you.

A technological imitation of a classical music connoisseur

Klarafy could best be compared with a technological imitation of a classical music connoisseur who goes through your record collection and then recommends classical music based on what he or she finds. This is the experience the creators wanted to mimic. On the technical side, Klarafy uses Spotify's huge music database and existing open source technology to categorise and analyse music. However, a great deal of thought also went into the tool.

Iwein Vandevyver, Creative Director at FAMOUS Brussels, explains:

Initially, we thought of Klarafy as a highly technological tool. The only thing is that people don't talk about music in technical terms such as 'beats per minute'. They are more likely to say how engaging or intimate they find a certain piece of music. And it is precisely this human language which we used to establish the link between the worlds of pop, rock, dance, electro… and classical music. Klarafy doesn't just suggest compositions, it also explains why a particular piece was chosen. This required a great deal of thought during the development process. In addition, all the works were chosen 'manually' by a team of music experts from Klara.’

More than just a translation robot

Klarafy works on the credible premise that someone who likes loud, powerful metal is more likely to enjoy a loud and powerful piece by Wagner than soft and delicate piano music. So Klarafy seeks out the affinities, similarities or links between your favourite music and classical music. In order to perform the ‘translation’, Klarafy scans your Spotify playlist for three criteria: your favourite music genre, the prevailing musical mood and finally specific points of departure such as particular instruments, voice types etc. It sounds abstract but often generates astonishing results. 

Here is how it works.

Check out the web tool below, along with the credits, for more info.

Klarafy

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