N564 | 28367 | D. Byrd

Informatics I545 / Music N564  (3 credits) MUSIC INFORMATION

Mon/Wed/Fri 1:25 - 2:15 PM, in Simon Center 373

In these days of Variations2 as well as iTunes, iPods, and iPhones,
people obtain and listen to music in digital form all the time, but
that just scratches the surface of what’s possible. Systems exist
now that identify, from databases of millions of recordings, music
heard in a noisy bar and transmitted via cell phone, or hummed into
a microphone. Other systems can search a database of scores or MIDI
files for a pattern of notes, for a chord progression, or for music
in a given genre. And concerts have been given (even in
Bloomington!) in which computers take into account previous
rehearsals to follow live performers in a musical way,
or "improvise" freely or by re-using existing music.

Using real music in many styles as material, we'll cover topics like:
* how musical information can be stored, manipulated, and displayed
* what it takes to get a computer to transcribe performed music into
readable notation
* why some music sounds like other music when you might not expect
it, and vice-versa
* searching for music by content (music IR) and by metadata (digital
music libraries)
* how copyright law affects the availability and use of music in
digital form,in both academic and other settings

The course assumes a solid background in music fundamentals; some
music theory would help. Some assignments may involve computer
programming, but no programming experience is necessary. The course
is open to all graduate students; I'd also be happy to include
qualified undergraduates with junior standing.

For more information, contact me (, phone 856-