Collaborative Environments for Creative Uses of Musical Information Retrieval

Topic Description

A range of systems exist that facilitate groups of mixed ability making music together. In the field of music information retrieval, a large number of tools have been developed which allow the mining of musical structure and content from existing sources.

In this project you would look at how to combine technologies in the above two areas. A particular emphasis could be on how the resulting systems provide for a meaningful aesthetic experience, and/or can the experience be meaning-making in other ways e.g. in response to non-musical sources such as paintings, photographs and written or verbal narratives.

Skills Required:

Software development skills

HCI skills

Knowledge of music theory

Experience with experimental design

Background Reading:

Many of these available from or first two:

Tom Collins, Andreas Arzt, Harald Frostel, and Gerhard Widmer. Using geometric symbolic fingerprinting to discover distinctive patterns in polyphonic music corpora. In David Meredith (Ed), Computational Music Analysis, pp. 445-474, Berlin, 2016. Springer.

Tom Collins, Robin Laney, Alistair Willis, and Paul H. Garthwaite. Developing and evaluating computational models of musical style. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 30(1):16-43, 2016.

Franceschini, Andrea; Laney, Robin and Dobbyn, Chris (2014). Learning musical contour on a tabletop. In: Joint ICMC/SMC 2014 Conference, 14 - 20 September 2014, Athens, Greece.

Franceschini, Andrea (2010). Towards a practical approach to music theory on the Reactable. In: SMC 2010: 7th Sound and Music Computing Conference, 21-24 Jul 2010, Barcelona, Spain.

Laney, Robin; Dobbyn, Chris; Xambó, Anna; Schirosa, Mattia; Miell, Dorothy; Littleton, Karen and Dalton, Nick (2010). Issues and techniques for collaborative music making on multi-touch surfaces. In: 7th Sound and Music Computing Conference, 21-24 July 2010, Barcelona.

Roma, Gerard; Xambó, Anna; Herrera, Perfecto and Laney, Robin (2012). Factors in human recognition of timbre lexicons generated by data clustering. In: 9th Sound and Music Computing Conference (SMC 2012), 11-14 July 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Xambó, Anna (2015). Tabletop Tangible Interfaces for Music Performance: Design and Evaluation. [Thesis] 2014. See:

Xambó, Anna; Roma, Gerard; Laney, Robin; Dobbyn, Chris and Jordà, Sergi (2014). SoundXY4: supporting tabletop collaboration and awareness with ambisonics spatialisation. In: International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression 2014, 30 June – 03 July 2014, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. 2013

Xambó, Anna; Laney, Robin; Dobbyn, Chris and Jordà, Sergi (2013). Video analysis for evaluating music interaction: musical tabletops. In: Holland, S.; Wilkie, K.; Mulholland, P. and Seago, A. eds. Music and Human-Computer Interaction. Springer Series on Cultural Computing. London, UK: Springer Verlag, pp. 241–258.

Xambó, Anna; Hornecker, Eva; Marshall, Paul; Jordà, Sergi; Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin (2013). Let’s jam the reactable: peer learning during musical improvisation with a tabletop tangible interface. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 20(6),2012.

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Robin Laney


Alistair Willis