In CompMusic we have pooled in a lot of resourceful information about music from different parts of the world, from a variety of sources: metadata (eg: Musicbrainz), structured data on the web about different entities (eg: DBPedia pages for artists/raagas), audio analysis (eg: melodic/rhythmic descriptions) and data mining (eg: forum/social data analysis, textbooks). Dunya , being developed in the project, is a web-based software application to navigate the music collections using descriptions of concepts specific to the given music. Specifically in this context, even though each of the information sources is useful and important in its own way, interlinking them yields certain advantages. Some of these are mentioned as we progress through the blog post.
From the 15th to the 26th of July 2013, some members of the MTG participated to the Galata Electroacoustic Orchestra Intensive Program (GEO-IP). GEO-IP is a summer school under the Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme whose aim is to fuse the traditional music of Istanbul, Genoa and Barcelona with contemporary electronic music. These three Mediterranean harbor-cities have been in commercial and cultural exchange for centuries, and share numerous historical, sociological, cultural and architectural connections. An example is the Galata Tower in Istanbul, which also gives its name to the orchestra. This landmark was built by the Genoese in the 14th century.
On February 2013 I made a trip to Morocco, together with Mohamed Sordo, to attend an Andalusian music festival in Fez and to meet with the musician and musicologist Amin Chaachoo in Tetouan. This was the first trip to Morocco in the context of CompMusic and the objective was to stablish contacts and to decide the first steps to take in our research on Andalusian music, which is one of the five music cultures that we want to focus on.
On the weekend of November 10th-11th, the CompMusic team hosted the annual MusicBrainz summit (in its 9th edition) at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. The yearly summit is an opportunity for the geographically diverse MusicBrainz community to meet for a few days and do high-level planning for the next year of site development. As most communication in the MusicBrainz world is performed over email and internet chat, it is useful to get together face-to-face to quickly come to an agreement on topics that otherwise may take a long time to discuss online.
The 13th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2012) was an important event for CompMusic. At ISMIR 2011 we had presented the project and some very preliminary work (see blog post) and this time the goal was to have a stronger impact by presenting more mature research results. We definitely succeeded, we had 8 papers from CompMusic (see news item) and other papers and events showed the influence of our project.
In publications, it is many times necessary to include Indic terms that cannot, or should not, be translated. Hence, we use the terms transliterated to latin script. In most scientific papers and other publications we find those terms transliterated very liberally. This results in two problems: (i) Ambiguity in their pronunciation (Eg: whether to elongate a vowel or not), (ii) Multiple spellings for a given word (Eg: Sourashtram, Saurastram). This is the reason why good publishing houses use a transliteration standard which enforces consistency and improves readability. ISO 15919 is one such widely used standard which defines a transliteration/romanization scheme for all the Indic scripts/languages. It is a super-set of IAST which is defined for Sanskrit.
During the month of May 2012 I was in China, mainly in Beijing, making contacts for CompMusic and trying to learn about the art music of China. I knew very little of the traditional Chinese instruments and even less about the different music traditions that exist in China. This trip opened me a fascinating world that I would like to study further and understand more. Here I just write a bit about some of the instruments that I was able to get in contact with and about some aspects of their music. I briefly write about the Guqin, Xun, Pipa, Guzheng, Sheng, Erhu, Dizi, Xiao, and also about the modern Chinese orchestra and the Beijing opera.
On July 12th and 13th 2012 we organized the 2nd CompMusic Workshop in Istanbul, at Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi. Right before the workshop we also had three days of meetings with all the project team. This was the first time we had all the members of CompMusic together. The location was idilic, right on the Bosphorus, with a great view of the strait and of the city. Both the pre-workshop meetings and the actual workshop were very successful, academically and socially. Thanks to the great organization by the team of Bariş Bozkurt everything went very smoothly and the feed back by the participants has been very positive.