My journey with Music and Altertunes

Hey there !

Its been close to 5 years now, since I first plucked the guitar strings and close to 3 years since I started working in the field of Music Information Retrieval and Audio Processing Technologies. Overall I can say that, the better half of my life has been ruled by Music in the past 5 years or so, and it continues to do so in the form of Altertunes.com.

Launched on 1 April, 2008, Altertunes is a social utility that helps people find their favorite music more easily and efficiently. It all started about 6 months back in October 2007, when I was given some training sessions on Web Application Servers. I was then introduced to the terms like Tomcat, Apache, IIS and other web application servers. Though the training sessions got over in a few days, it was a new beginning for me. I was so awed by these technologies that, my next 6 months were fully occupied by them.

Though my job profile didn’t demand any knowledge in the field of Web Development, out of interest, I started working on developing my skill sets in web development. It took me about 1 and a half months to know the basics of web development and how the things work on web. Finally, I thought of combining my knowledge of Music Information Retrieval and Web Development together, and came up with Altertunes.

The basic idea behind Altertunes was to come up with technologies that will allow its users to manage their music online, access them from any part of the world, and share their favorite songs and artists with other people in a trusted and secure environment. With Altertunes, one can explore this vast trove of music to their heart’s content. One just needs to drop the name of one of their favorite artists into Altertunes and rest is handled by it. Altertunes will quickly scan it entire music database, to find songs musically similar to the user’s choice. Then the user can just sit back and enjoy, create playlists, see who else on Altertunes is having a similar music taste, what all playlists others have made. To build the music meshup in Altertunes, I used API’s from AudioScrobbler and YouTube.

In future, I look forward to developing browser-based tools and applications which will help users manage their music from their desktops, get real time recommendations and related stuff which current music recommendation systems like last.fm and musicstrands fail to provide.

Music and My Guitar : How it all started (Part 1)

Well if you ask few things I can’t live without, apart from my parents,love and friends it will be guitar and music that will make to the list.

But I was never a born musician. There were friends of mine (Amit Chandra alias Candy and Navneet Singh alias Noni) from school days who used to play old country stuff along with Lucky Ali and K.K. but I was always a part of audience then.

My first real introduction to music was done while I was preparing for JEE examination(25th December 2002). By then Candy and Noni had moved from the world of Lucky Ali to Metallica, Iron Maiden, Aerosmith and the likes. One day after my coaching classes as I entered Candies house I found a lot of noisy stuff going inside. Actually they were listening to Fly Away (Aerosmith). At that stage I was just like any other normal person without a bit a of knowledge about music. I couldn’t even play Sa,Re,Ga,Ma on guitar or infact any instrument. I asked them ‘Whats the big deal in this song’. They laughed at me and asked to sing the song for them, as they were planning to form some rock band. Well I unaware of the world of music, scales, pitch etc etc started mummering the lyrics of the song in my own tune and pitch. I can still recall the way the laughed at me after I sang the first line of the song ‘Gotta find a way’. Actually I sang something ‘Gaataa find a way’ in old dehaati style.

Well that was my first encounter with the world of music. They gave me a CD full of rock songs and asked me to listen to it. Slowly and steadily, don’t know out of what reason I liked the songs, specially Smells like teen spirit(Nirvana). As Candy and Noni were looking to form a band they turned to me. They initially thought of training me as a drummer and for about 15-20 days I was official drummer of the band . Candy being as Vocalist/Bassy/Guitarist and Noni with Vocals/Leads. Anyhow they soon realized the mistake they made by making me a drummer and Candy took my place and I moved to bass guitar.

…to be continued