Computational Modeling of High-Level Musical Concepts
Morwaread Mary Farbood
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
New York University, USA
Two case studies in the computational modeling of music are presented. The first application described is Hyperscore, a graphical, computer-assisted composition system that allows users to intuitively visualize and edit musical structures. It maps musical features to graphical elements such as color, shape, and line texture. These graphical elements allow users to control both high and low-level musical features such as pitch, dynamics, melodic contour, and harmony.
Hyperscore facilitates composition by providing the user with a visual representation of the large-scale structure of a piece while simplifying the process of integrating diverse rhythmic and melodic material.
The second topic discussed is an analytical approach toward the implementation of a quantitative, parametric model for describing musical tension. Musical tension is a high-level musical concept difficult to formalize due to its subjective and multi-dimensional nature. The model is therefore derived from empirical data. Two experiments that ask subjects to respond to musical tension are described; both studies take into account a number of musical parameters including harmony, pitch height, melodic expectation, dynamics, onset frequency, tempo, and rhythmic regularity. Given the results of these studies, linear and nonlinear models for predicting tension given descriptions of the musical parameters are explored.