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EScience for Musicology

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A workshop supported under the AHRC/EPSRC/JISC eScience in the Arts and Humanities Initiative, convened by Goldsmiths College and King's College London together with the eScience Institute in Edinburgh.

Held at the eScience Institute in Edinburgh on 1st and 2nd July 2009.

This workshop is aimed at scholars working in musicological disciplines who are interested in applying e-Science methodologies to their own investigations. As such, we hope that it will provide a unique opportunity for those developing new methodologies and technologies for enabling and enhancing musical scholarship to engage with the target musicological community. Therefore, as well as comprising presentations and practical sessions, we hope to integrate some facility for participants in this workshop to record their experiences in an online, collaborative and real-time manner, thus providing invaluable data for assessing the impact of new methodologies and technologies on the discipline.

A report of the workshop has been published in D-Lib Magazine 16:1/2 (January/February 2010), published online:



If you are interested in attending this workshop, please register at the workshop's website. Registration is free. Please note, however, that places will be limited so early registration is recommended.


Wednesday 1st July

Time Room Speaker Title
09:30 N/A Registration/Coffee
10:00 RL/TB/SD Introduction
11:00 David Bretherton musicSpace: Improving Access to Musicology's Data Sources
11:30 Daniel M├╝llensiefen Corpus-based musicology: A systematic way of looking at music
12:00 Frans Wiering Musical Meaning and Music Information Retrieval
12:30 N/A Lunch
13:30 J. Stephen Downie Reformulating Acronym Soup: Can ISMIR, MIREX and NEMA be made nourishing for musicologists?
14:30 Yves Raimond Publishing and interlinking music-related data on the web
15:00 Raffaele Viglianti Digital editing of music: a reflection on model and presentation
15:30 N/A Tea
16:00 Geraint Wiggins Computational Modelling of Music Cognition
17:00 N/A Discussion
17:30 N/A N/A CLOSE
19:30 N/A Conference Dinner. Hotel du Vin (EH1 1EZ)

Thursday 2nd July

Time Room Speaker Title
10:00 N/A Coffee
10:30 Ichiro Fujinaga Distributed Digital Music Archives and Libraries Research Project
11:30 Johannes Kepper The Edirom Tools as a Framework for Digital Scholarly Music Editions
12:00 Benjamin Bohl Geminianis "Guida Armonica o Dizionarion Armonico" - a web based edition
12:30 N/A Lunch
13:30 Nicolas Gold Computational Tools for Studying Recorded Performance
14:00 Philip Wheatland MelodicMatch - Music Analysis through Pattern-Matching
14:30 Richard Polfreman FrameWorks 3D
15:00 N/A Tea
15:15 N/A Discussion
16:00 N/A N/A CLOSE


David Bretherton

musicSpace: Improving Access to Musicology's Data Sources

A significant barrier to the research endeavours of musicologists is the sheer amount of potentially relevant information that has accumulated over centuries. Although musicology's data sources are increasingly available online, the heterogeneity of this data, the plethora of providers, and, moreover, the limitations of current search tools means that extracting large tranches of factual information or running multi-part search queries is still enormously time consuming. The 'musicSpace' project is using cutting-edge Semantic Web and Web2.0 technologies to develop an advanced search interface that will integrate access to musicology's data sources. This will make previously intractable search queries tractable, enable musicologists to spend their research time more efficiently, and ultimately aid the attainment of new knowledge.

Frans Wiering

Musical Meaning and Music Information Retrieval

Great progress made in music information retrieval (MIR) research during the last decade or so. On closer inspection, this progress has been caused mainly by technological development: more often than not, only elementary knowledge of music has been incorporated in the design of MIR methods. There is an obvious lack of connection to human musical behaviour; consequently, only few research results have found their way into successful software products, Internet services or usable musicological tools.

A solution to this problem is to found MIR research first of all on music itself, viewed as a cognitive behaviour, and specifically, on the meaningfulness of music. The principal reason for people to compose, listen to, play and study music is that it is meaningful to them. Yet such meaning is subjective, difficult to express, and hard to relate to measurable musical properties. To involve musical meaning in MIR may therefore not sound realistic at the moment or even be feasible at all. On the other hand, after decades of musicological research in which musical meaning was a taboo issue, meaning has come back as a central topic in modern music research. Has this research produced any insights that may be helpful to MIR research? And, if so, what sort of useful MIR tools for musicologists might then be envisaged?

J. Stephen Downie

Reformulating Acronym Soup: Can ISMIR, MIREX and NEMA be made nourishing for musicologists?

Music information retrieval (MIR) research has made great strides in certain areas, particularly in the searching of audio files. It has, however, fallen short of its potential to be a common part musicological scholarship. This talk will explicate the development and evolution of three institutions that are playing important roles in MIR research:

1. ISMIR (International Society for Music Information Retrieval);
2. MIREX (Music Information Retrieval Evaluation eXchange); and,
3. NEMA (Networked Environment for Music Analysis).

Using these three institutions as a means to review the recent history of MIR research, the presentation will explore how the MIR research community can, and must, better serve the needs of the musicology community.

Raffaele Viglianti

Digital editing of music: a reflection on model and presentation

This talk reviews the possible impact of the digital medium on editorial practices in music philology, reflecting in particular on three aspects of a Digital Edition:

* An encoding model capable of representing notation and editorial intervention
* The identification of the needs of the users/readers
* The presentation of the content

This last point will be discussed as being determined by editorial choices in a way that competes and completes the encoding model. In order to address these matters, the talk will consider current debates in the field of digital philology for literature as a paradigm for the study of musical text.

Ichiro Fujinaga

Distributed Digital Music Archives and Libraries Research Project

The main goal of this research project is to develop and evaluate practices, frameworks, and tools for the design and construction of worldwide distributed digital music archives and libraries. Over the last few millennia, humans have amassed an enormous amount of information and cultural material that is scattered around the world.

It is becoming abundantly clear that the optimal path for acquisition is to distribute the task of digitizing the wealth of historical and cultural heritage material that exists in analogue formats, which may include books, manuscripts, music scores, maps, photographs, videos, analogue tapes, and phonograph records. In order to achieve this goal, libraries, museums, and archives throughout the world, large or small, need well-researched policies, proper guidance, and efficient tools to digitize their collections and to make them available economically.

The research conducted within the project will address unique and imminent challenges posed by the digitization and dissemination of music media.

Johannes Kepper

The Edirom Tools as a Framework for Digital Scholarly Music Editions

The Edirom Project develops tools for the preparation and presentation of computer-based historio-critical music editions. It concentrates on easy-to-use graphical user interfaces and at the same time tries to meet the scholarly needs of printed editions in the tradition of German Gesamtausgaben. Thus, a close interaction between software developers and musicologists is necessary to provide sustainable solutions. This presentation will give a short introduction to the most recent developments and possible next steps for further improvements of the Edirom software.

Benjamin Bohl

Geminianis "Guida Armonica o Dizionarion Armonico" - a web based edition

In his short introduction to the underlying treatise from the mid 18th century, the author will analyse the demands it makes on a transfer to the digital domain. Insights into the technical realization of this transformation will be delivered, as well as into the encoding of the text passages and the musical notation. A presentation of the resulting web-based edition will exemplify the possibilities and problems of such a venture. Questions concerning effort, methodological adequacy, transferability and reusability will give room for discussions.

Nicolas Gold

Computational Tools for Studying Recorded Performance

The study of recorded musical performance can be aided by the application of computational techniques to help analyse and visualise relevant data. While such techniques cannot provide a single definitive answer to musicological questions, they do contribute to a "toolbox" of methods for handling musical data and providing insight. This talk will present several techniques that have been applied and used in collaborative work with the CHARM project. The techniques will be illustrated by their application to various recordings, and their strengths and weaknesses considered.

Philip Wheatland

MelodicMatch - Music Analysis through Pattern-Matching

The field of information retrieval in music is characterised by a diversity of approaches, ranging from software that automates the identification of musical patterns to tools that allow the user to express his or her own musical and analytical goals. Working with music notation, MelodicMatch falls into the latter category by allowing the user to construct a search by specifying musical patterns and the relationships between them. The presentation will discuss polyphonic vocal works from the sixteenth century and will demonstrate how pattern-matching can throw into relief multiple aspects of a piece's construction.

Richard Polfreman

FrameWorks 3D

Music is a complex information structure and FrameWorks 3D is a new experimental tool for representing and editing music data on computer. Using a 3D graphical user-interface, users can construct frameworks of time-based data, consisting of hierarchical arrangements of clips across track timelines, which can be connected together by relations which implement dynamically maintained processes, taking the data from a source clip, processing the data and placing the result in a destination clip. Whilst primarily seen as an enabling tool for composers, providing a facility for rapid experimentation with musical ideas within a non-programmatical graphical environment, FrameWorks has two potential musicological applications. First, works created with the tool provide a form of analysis of the work itself via the framework meta-score, which contains information which typically has to be teased out from a score or audio representation by the analyst. Second, there is the possibility for reconstructing a framework to implement existing works - which has been done at a basic level in an earlier 2D MIDI version of the tool (FrameWorks 3D currently supports audio data). Such a process could be at least partially automated using pattern recognition technologies.


Please direct correspondence to Richard Lewis <richard DOT lewis AT gold DOT ac DOT uk>.

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