Category Archives: research

My last day as ISMIR president

This is my last day as ISMIR president. I am very proud of how our community has managed to establish ISMIR as a leading forum for music information research. I joined the board in 2014, became president-elect in 2016 and president in 2018. My main motivations have always been to contribute to strengthen scientific quality, inclusive spirit and diversity. During these years, I have witnessed the origins and impulse of TISMIR and WiMIR, the consolidation of ISMIR location alternating between Europe, America and Asia, and the evolution of the MIR field including the involvement of industry in our community, changes of on topics and MIR-related disciplines, as reflected in its 20th anniversary edition.

But, among all, I have had the privilege to meet great researchers and people in a community I now considered a bit as my family. I want to thank all excellent board members and colleagues I had the chance to work with. I do not have enough space to express my gratefulness.

Now it is my time to take a break from scientific service, which is sometimes exhausting and no so well recognised. However, I will keep my compromise as TISMIR co-editor in chief, WiMIR mentor and PC member, and hopefully as an ISMIR author for many years. I am sure the next president and board will do a great job and I wish them all the best to face the main challenge I foresee: how to keep ISMIR spirit (single track conference), scientific insights, inclusion and diversity in a deep learning world.


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Journal paper on AI and Music: Open Questions of Copyright Law and Engineering Praxis

I am very happy to share with you the publication of a truly interdisciplinary study on the impact of AI on music, including considerations from copyright and engineering praxis. It has been an amazing experience to collaborate with scholars in the field of creative practices, engineering and law, and I hope the paper will serve to start discussing some relevant aspects related to the use of AI in music production.


The application of artificial intelligence (AI) to music stretches back many decades, and presents numerous unique opportunities for a variety of uses, such as the recommendation of recorded music from massive commercial archives, or the (semi-)automated creation of music. Due to unparalleled access to music data and effective learning algorithms running on high-powered computational hardware, AI is now producing surprising outcomes in a domain fully entrenched in human creativity—not to mention a revenue source around the globe. These developments call for a close inspection of what is occurring, and consideration of how it is changing and can change our relationship with music for better and for worse. This article looks at AI applied to music from two perspectives: copyright law and engineering praxis. It grounds its discussion in the development and use of a specific application of AI in music creation, which raises further and unanticipated questions. Most of the questions collected in this article are open as their answers are not yet clear at this time, but they are nonetheless important to consider as AI technologies develop and are applied more widely to music, not to mention other domains centred on human creativity.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; music; copyright; engineering; ethics


Paper available in open access at Arts journal.

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OpenBMAT: a new open dataset for music detection with loudness annotations

Last week we announced the publication of OpenBMAT, an open dataset for the tasks of music detection and relative music loudness estimation. The dataset contains 27.4 hours of audio from 8 different TV program types at 4 different countries, cross-annotated by 3 people using 6 different classes. It has been published as a dataset paper at Transaction of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval, the open journal of ISMIR. This research has been carried out as a collaboration between the MTG and BMAT in the context of the industrial Doctorates program of the Catalan Government.

For more information you can read the related news at MTG web site:


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Help us in our study on perceived emotions of pop/rock music by English, Spanish, German, and Mandarin speakers

En castellano debajo! 

Juan Sebastian Gómez-Cañón, one of the PhD students working with me at the Music Information Research Lab of the MTG, is leading a study on the relation between the emotions perceived in pop and rock music and the language the listener speaks. To participate, please visit the following links depending on your mother tongue: English, Spanish, German, and Mandarin. In case that none of these languages is native to you, you can still participate by filling the English version (it takes around 20-25 minutes to complete it). Please follow the instructions carefully to guarantee your comprehension, correctness, and overall enjoyment! You can stop at any time and continue later as long as you keep the volume at the same level.

At the end of this survey and as a small thank you for your time, we will provide your Music Sophistication Index, which measures your ability to engage with music, as defined by Müllensiefen et al. (2014). The results of this research will also be available to you in our project website.

Thank you!


Juan Gómez-Canón, con el  cual trabajo en el laboratorio de Music Information Research del MTG (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) está llevando a cabo un estudio sobre la relación entre las emociones percibidas en música pop/rock y el lenguaje. Agradeceríamos mucho vuestra participación rellenando un formulario que requiere entre 20-25 minutos y que se basa, fundamentalmente, en escuchar música e indicar la emoción percibida en cada caso. El formulario está disponible en Inglés, Español, Alemán y Mandarín (en caso que vuestra lengua materna no sea ninguna de esas podéis participar usando la versión en inglés). Es importante seguir las instrucciones cuidadosamente para garantizar la correcta comprensión de los ítems planteados. Podéis parar en cualquier momento y continuar después, siempre y cuando se mantenga el mismo volumen al escuchar la música .

Al final de esta encuesta y como una pequeña muestra de agradecimiento por vuestro tiempo, os entregaremos vuestro Music Sophistication Index, que mide la habilidad de involucrarse con la música, tal y como se definió en Müllensiefen et al. (2014). Los resultados de esta investigación también estarán disponibles para la página web del proyecto.


¡Muchas gracias!


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Women in AI: mitigating the gender bias

Last Friday March 8th I was invited to speak at a lunch event of the European Commission intended to provide a scientific perspective to the challenges of gender equality. I gave a talk titled “Women in Artificial Intelligence: mitigating the gender bias”, that is summarized here.

In this context today my colleague Ana Freire and I are launching the divinAI initative to monitor the presence of women in AI events. Please come to our HACKFEST event in Barcelona in June 1st! 



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A new paper on Frontiers journal on Music Conducting

I am very happy to publish this work with Alvaro Sarasúa and Julián Urbano on Frontiers in Digital Humanities about Music Conducting.

The paper, titled “Mapping by Observation: Building a User-Tailored Conducting System From Spontaneous Movements” presents a music interaction system based on the conductor-orchestra metaphor, where the orchestra is considered as an instrument controlled by the movements of the conductor. In the system we proposed the user can control tempo and dynamics and it adapts its mapping to the user by observing spontaneous conducting movements on top of a fixed music. In this respect, we analyze the tendency of people to anticipate or fall behind the beat and the gestures mapped to loudness. The system was evaluated with 24 participants in a discover-by-playing scenario.
Our work was developed in the context of the PHENICX and CASAS research projects and opens interesting directions for creating more intuitive and expressive DMIs, particularly in public installations.
You can access the open publication here.

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TISMIR Journal Launch and Call for Papers

I am blogging some news related to a project I have been recently contributing.

It brings us great pleasure to announce the launch of the first issue of TISMIR, the Transactions of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval

TISMIR was established to complement the widely cited ISMIR conference proceedings and provide a vehicle for the dissemination of the highest quality and most substantial scientific research in MIR. TISMIR retains the Open Access model of the ISMIR Conference proceedings, providing rapid access, free of charge, to all journal content. In order to encourage reproducibility of the published research papers, we provide facilities for archiving the software and data used in the research. The TISMIR publication model avoids excessive cost to the authors or their institutions, with article charges being less than the ISMIR Conference registration fee.

The first issue contains an editorial introducing the journal, four research papers and one dataset paper:

Editorial: Introducing the Transactions of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval – Simon Dixon,  Emilia Gómez,  Anja Volk

Multimodal Deep Learning for Music Genre Classification – Sergio Oramas,  Francesco Barbieri,  Oriol Nieto,  Xavier Serra

Learning Audio–Sheet Music Correspondences for Cross-Modal Retrieval and Piece Identification – Matthias Dorfer,  Jan Hajič jr.,  Andreas Arzt,  Harald Frostel,  Gerhard Widmer

A New Curated Corpus of Historical Electronic Music: Collation, Data and Research Findings – Nick Collins,  Peter Manning,  Simone Tarsitani

A Case for Reproducibility in MIR: Replication of ‘A Highly Robust Audio Fingerprinting System’ – Joren Six,  Federica Bressan,  Marc Leman

Pop Music Highlighter: Marking the Emotion Keypoints – Yu-Siang Huang,  Szu-Yu Chou,  Yi-Hsuan Yang

Two more papers (one research paper and one overview paper) are in press.

Authors:  We look forward to receiving new submissions to the journal – please see the Call for Papers below.

Best Regards
Simon Dixon, Anja Volk and Emilia Gómez

Editors-in-chief, TISMIR


The ISMIR Board is happy to announce the launch of the Transactions of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (TISMIR), the open-access journal of our community.


TISMIR ( publishes novel scientific research in the field of Music Information Retrieval (MIR), an interdisciplinary research area concerned with processing, analysing, organising and accessing music information. We welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines, including computer science, musicology, cognitive science, library & information science, machine learning, and electrical engineering.


TISMIR is established to complement the widely cited ISMIR conference proceedings and provide a vehicle for the dissemination of the highest quality and most substantial scientific research in MIR. TISMIR retains the Open Access model of the ISMIR Conference proceedings, providing rapid access, free of charge, to all journal content. In order to encourage reproducibility of the published research papers, we provide facilities for archiving the software and data used in the research. TISMIR is published in electronic-only format, making it possible to offer very low publication costs to authors’ institutions, while ensuring fully open access content. With this call for papers we invite submissions for the following article types:

Article types

Research articles must describe the outcomes and application of unpublished original research. These should make a substantial contribution to knowledge and understanding in the subject matter and should be supported by relevant experiments.

Overview articles should focus in detail on specific aspects of MIR research. Overview articles will provide a comprehensive review of a broad MIR research problem, a critical evaluation of proposed techniques and/or an analysis of challenges for future research. Papers should critically engage with the relevant body of extant literature.

Datasets should present novel efforts in data gathering and annotation that have a strong potential impact in the way MIR technologies are exploited and evaluated.


If the paper extends or combines the authors’ previously published research, it is expected that there is a significant novel contribution in the submission (as a rule of thumb, we would expect at  least 50% of the underlying work – the ideas, concepts, methods, results, analysis and discussion – to be new). In addition, if there is any overlapping textual material, it should be rewritten.


Review process

The journal operates a double-blind peer review process.  Review criteria include originality, consideration of previous work, methodology, clarity and reproducibility.


Publication frequency

The journal is published online as a continuous volume and issue throughout the year, following an open access policy. Articles are made available as soon as they are ready to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in getting content publicly available.


Editorial team

Editors in Chief

Simon Dixon, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Emilia Gómez, Music Technology Group, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

Anja Volk, Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Editorial Board

Juan P. Bello, Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, & Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, New York University, United States

Arthur Flexer, Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI), Austria

Fabien Gouyon, Pandora, United States

Xiao Hu, Faculty of Education, Division of Information & Technology Studies, University of Hong Kong

Olivier Lartillot, Department of Musicology, University of Oslo, Norway

Jin Ha Lee, Information School, University of Washington, United States

Meinard Mueller, International Audio Laboratories Erlangen, Germany

Geoffroy Peeters, Sound Analysis/Synthesis Team, UMR STMS IRCAM CNRS, France

Markus Schedl, Department of Computational Perception, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria


Reviewers: The editorial board counts on reviewers from the ISMIR community, who are crucial to the success of the journal. To become a reviewer, please register here

Journal Manager

Tim Wakeford, Ubiquity Press, United Kingdom




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Paper and dataset for Choir Singing Analysis, presented at ICMPC-ESCOM

Last week, Helena Cuesta, one of the PhD students I am working with, attended the 15th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition and 10th triennial conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music in Graz (Austria). She presented the following paper in the poster session, as well as a contribution to the proceedings:

Cuesta, H., Gómez, E., Martorell, A., Loáiciga, F. Analysis of Intonation in Unison Choir Singing.

ICMPC/ESCOM is a very multidisciplinary conference, bringing together people from very different fields related to music such as music psychology, music perception, neuroscience, music theory, or music information retrieval.

The study investigates several expressive characteristics of unison choir singing, focusing on how singers blend together and interact with each other in terms of fundamental frequency dispersion, intonation, and vibrato. They also present an open dataset of choral singing that is available here, and was created in collaboration with the Anton Bruckner Choir (Barcelona).

This is a picture of the recording session. This work is being carried out in the context of two research projects: CASAS and TROMPA.



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LifeSoundTrack: música, tecnología, recuerdos y alzheimer / music, technology, memories and alzheimer

English version below!

A veces los proyectos más enriquecedores son los que realizas con menos recursos.

En éste proyecto utilizamos las tecnologías de recuperación de la información musical para encontrar la banda sonora de la vida de personas mayores españolas. Ésto ha presentado varios retos de investigación y tecnológicos. En concreto hemos podido observar el sesgo de los sistemas actuales de recomendación musical tanto en que sólo se centran en un repertorio musical popular y sus interfaces y descriptores musicales están pensados para usuarios jóvenes. Esto aplica a:

  • Las taxonomías de géneros musicales.
  • Los idiomas predominantes en las canciones y su etiquetado.
  • Los descriptores y playlists que se utilizan (e.g. música de fiesta).
  • La dificultad para tener los derechos de dar una canción a éstas personas para que la escuchen.
  • La dificultad de tener dispositivos fáciles de usar y dirigidos a éste tipo de personas.

Por tanto casi hemos tenido que empezar desde cero! Éste es el repositorio github que hemos creado (abierto):

Y si alguien quiere obtener su banda sonora puede hacerlo en 

Atención! El sistema está pensado para personas mayores que han nacido o viven en España, por lo que utilizadlo sobre todo si cumplís éstos requisitos o para alguna persona que conozcáis que los cumpla.

Ha sido un privilegio poder colaborar con la Fundación Pasqual Maragall, La Fundación AVAN y la Escuela La Salud de Sabadell en éste piloto con personas que padecen la enfermedad de Alzheimer. Sobre todo ha sido genial trabajar con Nina, Anna, Carolina, y los chicos de La Salut. Aquí podéis ver un vídeo que me encanta y resume muy bien el proyecto:

Para más información no os perdáis el documental Sense Ficció que emitirá TV3 el día 8 de Mayo por la noche!!!

Más información del proyecto en la web del MTG y de la Fundación Pasqual Maragall.

Y las bandas sonoras se pueden generar en 

¡Gracias a todo el equipo! En especial al grupo del MTG: Perfe Herrera, Felipe Navarro, Olga Slizovskaia, por su tiempo en éste proyecto donde no hemos tenido financiación específica.


Sometimes the most enriching projects are those that you do with less resources and funding.

In this project we use music information retrieval (MIR) technologies to find the life soundtrack of Spanish elderly people. Starting from a questionnaire where we ask about biographical information and one´s relationship with music, we build a playlist looking at several sources such as spotify or youtube. 

This has presented several research and technological challenges. Specifically, we have been able to observe the bias of current music recommendation systems, as they focus on a popular musical repertoire and their interfaces and musical descriptors are designed for young users. This applies to:

  • The taxonomies of musical genres.
  • The predominant languages ​​in the songs and their labeling.
  • The descriptors and playlists that are used (e.g., what does happy music mean).
  • The difficulty to have the rights to give a song to these people to be heard.
  • The difficulty of having easy-to-use devices aimed at this type of person.

Therefore we almost had to start from scratch! This is the github repository that we have created (open): 

And if someone wants to get their soundtrack you can do it at
Attention! The system is designed for seniors who have been born or live in Spain, so use it especially if you meet these requirements or for someone you know who complies.

It has been a privilege to be able to collaborate with the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, the AVAN Foundation and the Health School of Sabadell in this pilot with people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Above all it has been great to work with Nina, Anna, Carolina, and the guys from La Salut. Here you can see a video that I love and sums up the project very well:

For more information, do not miss the Sense Ficció documentary that will broadcast TV3 on May 8 at night !!!

More information on the project on the MTG website and the Pasqual Maragall Foundation. Thanks to all the team! Especially to the MTG group: Perfe Herrera, Felipe Navarro, Olga Slizovskaia, for their time in this project where we have not had specific funding.

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Interview at ACM SIGMM Records and the need for interdisciplinary research

The March Issue (Vol.10, Issue 1) of ACM SIGMM Records (News for the Multimedia Community) is out and it includes an interview of myself for the interdisciplinary column, kindly chaired by Cynthia Liem and Jochen Huber.

It is awesome already that there is an interdisciplinary column at SIGMM, recognising the challenges and also the potential of interdisciplinary research and insights as a way to have a comprehensive understanding, in this case, of multimedia computing. I was very pleased to ask questions about my experience in the MIR field and about diversity and interdisciplinarity.

You can read the interview and other interesting content here.

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