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'What was the question?': music analysis and the computer.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Published

Publication date2009
Host publicationModern Methods for Musicology
EditorsTim Crawford, Lorna Gibson
Place of publicationFarnham
PublisherAshgate
Pages137-147
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780754673026
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameDigital Research in the Arts and Humanities
PublisherAshgate

Abstract

Four decades ago, a gulf was identified between traditional and computer-based musical research. It seems to exist just as much today in the field of analysis, judging by the small number of studies using computers published in Music Analysis. On the other hand, there are now few impediments to analytical work with computers. Systems for encoding and processing musical information and substantial databases of encoded music are now readily available. However, most examples of research with computers come not from the field of music analysis, but from other areas of systematic musicology, and particularly from Music Information Retrieval. Not only is the methodology and terminology commonly different from those of traditional music analysis, but also the objectives. Using a computer imposes demands of systematic definition, but also opens up new opportunities, and it is inevitable that these should lead musical research with computers in new directions. Though not following the paradigms nor expressed in the language of music analysis, some of this work is nevertheless analytical in nature, and measures to bridge the gulf and bring analytical dividends from current computer-based musical research are proposed.