Engineering systematic musicology

Methods and services for empirical and computational music research
Joren Six


Historical Musicology

  • Score analysis
  • Music history
  • Western art music

Systematic Musicology

  • Socio-musicology
  • Music psychology
  • Psycho-acoustics
  • Computer sciences of music


  • Digital experimental research data
  • Vast digital music libraries


“Engineer solutions that are relevant for systematic musicology”

Example 1

An example of how applied engineering can facilitate close and distant listening

Close listening.
  • Computer-assisted listening
  • Limited number of recordings
  • Single features
  • Nuance, detail
  • Definitive
Distant listening
  • Machine listening
  • Large collections
  • Summarized features
  • Relations, evolutions
  • Probabilistic


First twin Second tiwn
Year recorded ? 1949
Title The daughter Mandega ?
People Zezuru Shona / Zezuru
Collector Hugh Tracey Hugh Tracey


  • Open source
  • Evaluated using public data
  • Reproducible

Solutions in the plane


  1. Close and distant listening to pitch structures
  2. Improving meta-data by finding twins
  3. Augmented listening
    1. More information on other solutions:

Meta-data Example 1

Instrument Kundung (xylofoon - ideofoon)
Recorded at Zawan - Benue plateau - Nigeria
People and language Birom
Recorded before 1976
Recorded by Benoit Quersin
Function Dance music
Identifier MR.1976.25.3-A2

Technical data example 1

FFT Size 4096 points
Window Blackman
Pitch estimation Birom