Posted by Anita on November 19th, 2007 — in

This is Anita Lillie’s blog for documenting her work on her Master’s thesis. It’s intended to keep her readers in the loop about her progress, and to solicit commentary and suggestions.

My Master’s thesis is focused on the problem of finding music you like, both inside your own collection (to match a particular mood, for example), or outside of your own collection. I don’t like the hugely text-dependent ways of searching for music in traditional media players like iTunes and Windows Media Player. My thesis work will depart from that interface, and will present your music collection in a space, organized by similarity. I will be calculating similarity both from audio features (straight from the audio signal) and textual descriptions (gathered from tags on the web).

I like information visualization. Ultimately, my goal is to create a picture of what I listen to, what my friends listen to, and to see how those pictures sit in the broader context of music as a whole.

Readers on my thesis: John Maeda, Henry Lieberman, and Paul Lamere. My advisor: Tod Machover.

To contact me, please add a comment or email me at the address listed on this page.


  1. Comment by Craig Hollabaugh

    Posted on October 1, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I stumbled on your site from ISMIR2008 links. Your classification and visualization work is fascinating. I love the 3d playlist generation.

    I envisioned something similar 4 years ago while cross referencing my music from allmusic’s style and mood metadata.

    I’m going to read your thesis with great interest.

    I don’t what you’re using for animation, I’m using flash. I learned about 3d flash animation last April taking another step towards my ideas. Here’s an example my work.


    Keep up the great work.

  2. Comment by Brent

    Posted on December 16, 2008 at 12:06 am

    are you the one?! my music savior!

  3. Comment by Paolo

    Posted on December 16, 2008 at 4:42 am

    great work!

    I could not go deeply into it therefore maybe a stupid question: any feature related to selection of tracks based on bpm?

  4. Comment by Dan

    Posted on December 16, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Haha, the above poster is another DJ thinking just like myself. Line up my tracks by genre and BPM, haha!

    I am also a computer scientist who loves music and music classification, and I seriously believe there’s an amazing amount of application for your product. If you don’t have a proof of concept or some type of IP protection, you should get one now! This is amazing and invaluable for DJs, stores, radio stations, etc.

    This rock, literally and figuratively!

  5. Comment by Paolo

    Posted on December 16, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    not a DJ: I am a jogger ! ;-)
    I just need to pick up tracks for my training (something around 124 and 138 bpm).

    I thought that Nike already implemented that system, but I understand they did not.

    I use to go by ears, using a track as a reference (Revolution by Jamiroquay, or Four Horsemen by the Clash), but it is not that succeeding when actually training.
    Always slightly too slow or too fast (a minimal difference …. makes the difference!)

  6. Comment by Adam Glazier

    Posted on December 26, 2008 at 12:52 am

    This rules and is just what I wanted for x-mas. I hope to get my paws on it someday because my music collection is out of control…it’s too big to interact with.

  7. Comment by John Murray

    Posted on January 7, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Such an interesting application, this is really a neat project.
    Are there any plans for some sort of public release, it would be really neat to release some/all of this open source for others to view/improve/generate new ideas off of.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. Comment by Graham

    Posted on January 19, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Are you planning to release this software to the public? I would love to have this for my library. Excellent work here.

  9. Comment by Keith

    Posted on April 30, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    how do i get this i need it now haha make it happen keep up the good work

  10. Comment by David

    Posted on August 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Anita,

    I would love to work with you to create MusicBox into an actual publicly released software application.

    I am an interface experience designer who has worked on a variety of Apple products and OpenSource projects (particularly in the area of multimedia). I have a serious passion to make clean simple user interfaces with a high degree of aesthetic detail..and hopefully beauty.

    If you want to ‘pretty’ up your MusicBox thesis work and talk about how we can take what you have (which is awesome) and make it easier for the average user to get into using it then please send me an email :)

    Anyway, great project

  11. Comment by JeFX

    Posted on February 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Great work! Has their been any kind of update as far as a public release of musicbox?

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