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Professor Alan Marsden

Head of Department, Professor of Computational Musicology

Alan Marsden

The LICA Building



Tel: +44 1524 593774

Office Hours:

Enquiries to Jane Quinn (j.quinn2@lancaster.ac.uk)

PhD supervision

Computational musicology, music information retrieval, intelligent music software systems, formal music theory, digital arts research

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Research Interests

I am interested in scientific and mathematical approaches to music, not because I think music can be reduced to formulae—I believe it cannot—but because we learn a lot in the attempt. Furthermore, with computer tools, a systematic approach allows us to do interesting musical things. From 2004 to 2021, I was editor of the leading journal in the area of scientific, systematic and technological research in music, the Journal of New Music Research.

My principal research objective is to develop computational systems which allow us to reach a deeper understanding of how music presents an aural environment which captivates a listener's attention. To this end, I have developed software which implements some aspects of Schenkerian theory (a quasi-grammatical theory of music which reveals underlying hierarchical structures). I am also interested in computational methods which allow us to extract information or test theories on large datasets of music, whether in the form or audio recordings or representations of scores.

I am interested in extending some of these computational techniques to the study of visual art, in particular through the application of information theory.

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