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Computational Music Theory and Music as the “Universal Language” — MIDAS Data Science for Music Working Group

October 22, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Weiser Hall, MIDAS, Suite 600

The Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) is convening a research working group on “Data Science for Music”.  To join our first meeting on Oct. 22, please sign up through the online form.

Earlier this year, MIDAS launched the Data Science for Music research hub and funded four interdisciplinary research projects.  With this hub as the first step, MIDAS hopes to help U-M scientists position themselves at the national forefront in this nascent research area.  We define “data science for music” broadly, including computer music; computational music theory; Big Data analytics in music education, audience engagement and marketing; music in healthcare, advocacy and other settings; and any other research at the intersection of data science and music.  Our working group welcomes all researchers with an interest in the “Data Science for Music” theme, and we will host regular meetings as an interdisciplinary forum to foster new ideas and collaboration.

Speaker: Sam Mukherji, Assistant Professor, Music Theory

Title: Computational Music Theory and Music as the “Universal Language”

Brief description: Building on my talk “A Minimalist Approach to Computation in Music,” at this year’s MIDAS Annual Symposium, in this presentation I will revisit the notion of musical and linguistic universals, and the role of computational music theory in unpacking these ideas. My presentation will be in three parts: in the first part, I will discuss the Minimalist Program in contemporary linguistics, especially some of the philosophical and scientific details of this framework not addressed in my Symposium presentation, and how this offers a unique explanation for how the human linguistic mind works. In part two, I will extend these ideas to debates about musical structure and the musical mind, and how this problematizes certain conventions within current computational music theory. Finally, in part three, I will focus on my sub-project within our larger “MIDAS in Music Theory” project, which explores computational approaches to Indian music theory, and within this context offers some solutions to the problems discussed in part two.

The talk will be followed by open discussion on ideas, methods, collaboration and funding.


October 22, 2018
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Weiser Hall, MIDAS, Suite 600
500 Church Street, Suite 600
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1042 United States
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