Automatic pattern search in music: connecting computational methods and musicological insights
Colloquium Musicology by Dr. Anja Volk
In this talk I address the role of computational pattern search for helping us to scrutinize what it is that we “really know” about a specific type of music, if we consider ourselves to be musical experts.
I elaborate my hypothesis that musical knowledge is often implicit, while computation enables us to make part of this knowledge explicit and evaluate it on a musical data set. I will discuss three examples of pattern search for corpus investigation, linked to the following questions: When are two folk songs considered to be similar to each other? What is a typical Ragtime and how has Ragtime evolved over time? What are typical chord patterns in popular music and how much do we agree on them? I discuss how musical experts and non-experts working together on developing computational methods can gain important insights into the specifics of a musical style, and into the implicit knowledge of musical experts.
Dr. Anja Volk holds master degrees in both Mathematics (1998) and Musicology (1996) and a PhD in the field of computational musicology (2002) from Humboldt University Berlin, Germany. Her area of specialisation is the development and application of computational and mathematical models for music research. The results of her research have substantially contributed to areas such as music information retrieval, computational musicology, digital cultural heritage, music cognition, and mathematical music theory. After two post-doc periods at the University of Southern California and Utrecht University, she has been awarded a prestigious VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in 2010, which allowed her to start her own research group MUSIVA on the topic of music similarity. She is a board member of the International Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music (SMCM) and of the Computational advisory board of the Lorentz Center. She co-organized the launch of the Transactions of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval, the open access journal of the ISMIR society, and is serving as Editor-in-Chief for the journal's first term.
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