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Music

Current Research projects

Current research projects include:

Tagging online music contents for emotion. A systematic approach based on contemporary emotion research (ESRC grant)

Project Overview:

With the growing ease of music’s accessibility through online music catalogues (e.g., Google music, Spotify, last.fm) and music transportations devices (smartphones, ipods) music’s pervasiveness in everyday-life has reached an unprecedented dimension. The project proposes to incorporate the new understanding of music-evoked emotion into the growing number of online musical databases and catalogues, as well as features in media players to recommend music and creating playlists. Specifically, the aim here is to develop an innovative conceptual and technical tool enabling a suitable tagging of online musical content for emotion. This will utilise the state-of-the-art conceptual model, particularly GEMS (Zentner et al., 2008) from field of music psychology but also revising such a model in terms of new music genres and the information provided by online social tags. In a first part we will examine to extent the GEMS provides valid emotion descriptors for a wider range of musical genres than the genres that we originally used for its development. In a second step, we will use advanced data reduction techniques to select the most recurrent and important labels for describing music-evoked emotion. In a third study we will examine the added benefit of the new GEMS compared to conventional approaches to the tagging of music.

PI: Tuomas Eerola, Durham University, UK
Co-PI: Marcel Zentner, University of Innsbruck, Austria

AHRC grant (mini-project within Transforming Musicology)
Large-scale corpus analysis of historical electronic music using MIR tools: Informing an ontology of electronic music and cross-validating content-based methods 

A large corpus of 2000 historical electronic music tracks will be created, and analysed by computer in an exhaustive calculation no human musicologist could attempt. But interesting questions remain in relating such 'machine listening' to human analysis, and the results will inform investigation of an ontology of electronic music and trends in music over 50 years of works. 

PI: Nick Collins, Durham University, UK
Co-I Peter Manning, Durham University, UK
RA: Simone Tarsitani, Durham University, UK 

Research blog:
http://transformingmusicologydurham.wordpress.com

TaCEM: Technology and Creativity in Electroacoustic Music
A collaboration between the University of Huddersfield and Durham University

Principle Investigator: Prof. Michael Clarke (CeReNeM, University of Huddersfield)
Co-Investigator: Prof. Peter Manning (Durham University)
Post Doctoral Research Assistant: Dr Frédéric Dufeu (CeReNeM, University of Huddersfield)

This AHRC funded research project (2012-15) is investigating “the impact of technology on the creative processes of composing electroacoustic music.” The following research questions are central to the project:

  • How far has new technology affected the ways in which particular musical works are shaped and structured?
  • To what extent has the use of technology been guided by particular aesthetic or creative principles?
  • How and to what extent has technology informed the development of the compositional language of electroacoustic music?
  • How can the technical and the musical outcomes of such investigations be most meaningfully communicated both to the academic community and a wider audience?

The TaCEM project is examining these issues through a series of eight case studies. Each case study involves the detailed investigation of a particular work, looking at the technical means employed in its creation, analyzing its musical structure and examining the place of the work within the composer’s oeuvre and the broader historical context. A range of works has been chosen to reflect different aspects of the genre.

The outcomes of the TaCEM project involve written materials (including a book), integrated with software designed to help readers gain a deeper understanding of both the technical and analytical issues surrounding each work. The software will extend the Interactive Aural Analysis techniques previously developed by Michael Clarke and will be freely available. Users will have the chance to try out the techniques used in particular works for themselves and be able to explore the music interactively in sound.

The TaCEM team would like to acknowledge the following for their invaluable contributions to the project:

- Project Associate: Dr Alex Harker (University of Huddersfield);
- Project Advisors: Prof. Roger Dannenberg (Carnegie Mellon University), Prof. Simon Emmerson (De Montfort University), Dr Évelyne Gayou (Ina-GRM), Prof. Xavier Rodet (Ircam). 

In addition to the software dedicated to the individual case studies, a generic software is being developed within the TaCEM project: TIAALS (Tools for Interactive Aural Analysis) enables the user to develop his own interactive aural analyses from the sound contents of any piece, in an environment integrating a sonogram and a chart maker. A beta version of this software is publically available for individuals to study and provide user feedback.

Fuller details can be obtained from the project’s website which is managed by the University of Huddersfield:

http://www.hud.ac.uk/research/researchcentres/tacem/