All over the world we recognize there are many differences, but one thing remains constant – music. What if there was a way to connect all the different music in one place? Alan Lomax, founder of ACE (Associations for Cultural Equity), came up with an idea to make this possible back in the early 1990s, by creating The Global Jukebox Song Tree! He worked for almost 20 years until he could no longer do so, then his daughter, Anna Lomax Wood, along with several other people and foundations picked up right where he left off. Today they are near the end of developing the software.

What exactly is The Global Jukebox Song Tree? It’s a collection of over 5,900 songs that have been analyzed and coded then put into a database. By analyzing and coding these songs they begin to get their own “DNA” based off geographic location, performance notes, and 37 performance variables (like wordiness, speed, etc.). With the analyzed information it separates the music into 14 regions, then into areas, then into provinces; once in a province you can go into a culture! This allows the viewer to find cultures that are related not based on politics or geographical boundaries, but based on sound and words of traditional music from around the world. In the picture above it shows the different levels; first ring – regions, second – areas, third – province, then you can break it down to culture. This map is more for taxonomy purpose, separation based on location and group.


In addition, there is also a World Map view where you can see the influences one culture can have on another based on color. Provinces are colored based on their “DNA” and area, and sized by number of cultures in province. For example, you can see green at different locations on the map below, those areas have similar music traditions.


Alan Lomax came up with this amazing idea to keep the history of traditional music alive and accessible for us today. This project is still in the works, and won’t be ready to go live until sometime in 2015. They still need a little time and a little money to finish things up. If The Global Jukebox Song Tree speaks to you, they are accepting donations of any size; just go to Kickstarter and do all you can! Keep the tradition alive and connect the heritage to our lives today.