Basic claim

Our information technologies do not respond to the world's multi-cultural reality; in fact, we are imposing the paradigms of our market-driven Western culture also on IT, thus facilitating the access of a small part of the world’s information to a small part of the world's population. The current IT research efforts may even make it worse and future IT will accentuate this information bias. Most IT research is being carried out with a Western centered approach and as a result, our data models, cognition models, user models, interaction models, ontologies,  etc., are  culturally biased. This fact is quite evident in music information research, since, despite the world's richness in musical culture, most  research is centered on CDs and metadata of Western commercial music.

Project objectives

  • Promote a multicultural perspective in Music Computing research.
  • Advance in the description and formalization of music, making it more accessible to computational approaches.
  • Reduce the gap between audio signal descriptions and semantically meaningful music concepts.
  • Develop information modelling techniques for some non-Western music repertories.
  • Develop computational models to represent culture specific music contexts.

Research approaches

Selected music cultures

Despite the trend towards a musical monoculture there are robust music cultures, with a classical tradition, in places like China, India, Turkey, Indonesia, or in the Arab world, traditions that form a counterpoint to the Western music context. A few of these musics have excellent musicological and cultural studies available, they maintain performance practice traditions and they exists within real social contexts. Thus some of these traditions can be the ground on which to build non-Western information models and the means to challenge the Western-centered information paradigms. If we are able to describe and formalize the music of these cultures, we might open up the Western-centered information models in a way to better capture the richness of our worlds music.

Given the availability of information and our existing collaborations with experts within the different musical cultures, CompMusic studies art music traditions of India (Hindustani and Carnatic), Turkey (Turkish-makam), Maghreb (Andalusian), and China (Beijing Opera).