Automatic tune family identification by musical sequence alignment

Patrick E. Savage, Quentin D. Atkinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Musics, like languages and genes, evolve through a process of transmission, variation, and selection. Evolution of musical tune families has been studied qualitatively for over a century, but quantitative analysis has been hampered by an inability to objectively distinguish between musical similarities that are due to chance and those that are due to descent from a common ancestor. Here we propose an automated method to identify tune families by adapting genetic sequence alignment algorithms designed for automatic identification and alignment of protein families. We tested the effectiveness of our method against a high-quality ground-truth dataset of 26 folk tunes from four diverse tune families (two English, two Japanese) that had previously been identified and aligned manually by expert musicologists. We tested different combinations of parameters related to sequence alignment and to modeling of pitch, rhythm, and text to find the combination that best matched the ground-truth classifications. The best-performing automated model correctly grouped 100% (26/26) of the tunes in terms of overall similarity to other tunes, identifying 85% (22/26) of these tunes as forming distinct tune families. The success of our approach on a diverse, cross-cultural ground-truth dataset suggests promise for future automated reconstruction of musical evolution on a wide scale.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2015
EditorsMeinard Muller, Frans Wiering
PublisherInternational Society for Music Information Retrieval
Pages162-168
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9788460688532
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event16th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2015 - Malaga, Spain
Duration: 2015 Oct 262015 Oct 30

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 16th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2015

Conference

Conference16th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2015
Country/TerritorySpain
CityMalaga
Period15/10/2615/10/30

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music
  • Information Systems

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