Tag Archives: computational ethnomusicology

Paper on melodic similarity in flamenco now online

Our paper on melodic similarity is finally online! The paper is titled

Melodic Contour and Mid-Level Global Features Applied to the Analysis of Flamenco Cantes

This work focuses on the topic of melodic characterization and similarity in a specific musical repertoire: a cappella flamenco singing, more specifically in debla and martinete styles. We propose the combination of manual and automatic description. First, we use a state-of-the-art automatic transcription method to account for general melodic similarity from music recordings. Second, we define a specific set of representative mid-level melodic features, which are manually labelled by flamenco experts. Both approaches are then contrasted and combined into a global similarity measure. This similarity measure is assessed by inspecting the clusters obtained through phylogenetic algorithms and by relating similarity to categorization in terms of style. Finally, we discuss the advantage of combining automatic and expert annotations as well as the need to include repertoire-specific descriptions for meaningful melodic characterization in traditional music collections.

This is the result of a joint work of the COFLA group, where I am contributing with tecnologies for the automatic transcription and melody description of music recordings.

This is an example on how we compare flamenco tonás using melodic similarity and phylogenetic trees:


And this is a video example of the type of styles we analyze in this paper, done by Nadine Kroher based on her work at the MTG:

You can read the full paper online:


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CANTE: Open Algorithm, Code & Data for the Automatic Transcription of Flamenco Singing

Over the last months, several journal publications related to our research on flamenco & technology are finally online.

One of them is a work with my former PhD student, Nadine Kroher (who now moved to Universidad de Sevilla), on the automatic transcription of flamenco singing. Flamenco singing is really challenging in terms of computational modelling, given its ornamented character and variety, and we have designed a system for its automatic transcription, focusing on polyphonic recordings.


The proposed system outperforms state of the art singing transcription systems with respect to voicing accuracy, onset detection, and overall performance when evaluated on flamenco singing datasets. We hope it think will be a contribution not only to flamenco research but to other singing styles.

You can read about our algorithm at the paper we published at IEEE TASP, where we present the method, strategies for evaluation and comparison with state of the art approaches. You can not only read, but actually try it, as we published an open source software for the algorithm, plus a music dataset for its comparative evaluation, cante2midi (I will talk about flamenco corpus in another post). All of this to foster research reproducibility and motivate people to work on flamenco music.





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Forum on transcription in the journal “Twentieth-Century Music”

I contributed by means of an enriching interview to the “Forum on Transcription”, authored by Jason Stanyek (University of Oxford) in the journal Twentieth-Century MusicAs stated on the web site, this journal disseminates research on all aspects of music in the long twentieth century to a broad readership. Emphasis is placed upon the presentation of the full spectrum of scholarly insight, with the goal of fostering exchange and debate between disciplinary fields.

I share an interesting conversation about transcription with Parag Chordia. In this conversation with Jason we discussed about the challenges and potential of audio analysis tools for computer-assisted transcription and description of music recordings. I gave some examples on my work on the transcription of flamenco singing that is being carried out within the COFLA project. 

You can find the results of the forum and the rest of a very impressive special issue on transcription on the web.


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Special Issue on Computational Ethnomusicology

I have been editing, together with Perfecto Herrera and Paco Gómez, a Special Issue on Computational Ethnomusicology at the Journal of New Music Research.
The goal of this special issue is to gather relevant, high-quality research on computational methods and applications in ethnomusicology. The papers included here deal with different musical facets such as pitch, pulse and tempo, and voice timbre. They address different musical repertoires, from Central-African to Basque folk music. They also cover a broad area: tools, including data collections, methodology and Ethnomusicology core-problems. Althgouth it was a hard work, thanks to the authors and reviewers we managed to get a varied and interesting set of articles:
  • Computational Ethnomusicology: perspectives and challenges
  • Antipattern Discovery in Folk Tunes
  • Tarsos, a Modular Platform for Precise Pitch Analysis of Western and Non-Western Music
  • Evaluation and Recommendation of Pulse and Tempo Annotation in Ethnic Music
  • Breathy, Resonant, Pressed – Automatic Detection of Phonation Mode from Audio Recordings of Singing
  • A Location-Tracking Interface for Ethnomusicological Collections

The issue is now available online at JNMR web site. And our introduction is available here and here.

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Computational Ethnomusicology and FMA (3rd IW on Folk Music Analysis)

Over the last few years, there has been an increasing interest in the study of music from different traditions from a computational perspective. Researchers with interests in this area have been meeting at the ISMIR conferences and communicate through an interest group in computational ethnomusicology, ethnocomp.

My interests started in 2008, with a study about how tonal features, extracted from music audio signals, can be useful to automatically organize music recordings from different traditions. It basically consisted on characterizing the scale by means of high-resolution HPCP features and combining these features with timbre and rhythm descriptors. As a result, we established some relationships between audio features and geography in our ISMIR2009 paper on Music and geography: content description of musical audio from different parts of the world. After that, I got interested in MIR and Flamenco music, and I have been working in a system for the automatic transcription of flamenco singing, thanks to the COFLA project. This is a challenging task, that will require a dedicated post!

ethnocomp has always been a small community, and two years ago we had the first event devoted to this research area, the first Folk Music Analysis (FMA) workshop that took place in Athens, Greece. Last year I had the chance of co-organizing the 2nd FMA in Seville, my home town, which was jointly organized with a conference on flamenco research. At the last ISMIR in Porto, we could see an increasing interest in this small field, and there was a large number of people attending the ethnocomp ‘dinner?. Moreover, at my research group, my boss Xavier Serra is leading an ERC grant dealing with MIR and traditional music, compmusic. I am very happy that this field gets more attention, and that we address the fact that all our technology has been designed for Western popular music. There is much work to do to develop culture-specific or culture-aware tools.

I then hope that this year’s FMA, which will take place in Amsterdam, will be a success! I am sure it will be a truly interdisciplinary event, gathering people from ethnomusicology, music performance and music information retrieval.

Topics include:
– Computational ethnomusicology
– Retrieval systems for non-western and folk musics
– New methods for music transcription
– Formalization of musical data
– Folk music classification systems
– Models of oral transmission of music
– Cognitive modelling of music
– Aesthetics and related philosophical issues
– Methodological issues
– Representational issues and models
– Audio and symbolic representations
– Formal and computational music analysis

Important dates:
3 February 2013: Deadline for abstract submissions
10 March 2013: Notification of acceptance/rejection of submissions
5 May 2013: Deadline for submission of revised abstracts or full papers
6 and 7 June: Workshop

Don’t miss it!!!!

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CFP. Journal of New Music Research: Special Issue in Computational Ethnomusicology

Hi! I am happy to announce an special issue I will be co-editing with Perfecto Herrera and Paco Gómez.


Since the beginning of Music Information Retrieval (MIR) as a field,
most of its models and technologies have been developed for mainstream
popular music in the so-called “Western” tradition. The term Western
is generally employed to denote most of the cultures of European
origin and most of their descendants.

Over the last few years, there has been an increasing interest in
applying available techniques to the study of traditional, folk or
ethnic music. Ethnomusicologists, music theorists and practitioners,
among others, could be considerably benefit from this research.

Although computational techniques have been proved to be of great
interest when applied to different musical repertoires, it is apparent
that we need to develop culture-specific techniques and algorithms to
understand, model, and process different music repertoires.

In order to gather relevant, high-quality research on computational
methods and applications in ethnomusicology, the prestigious Journal
of New Music Research will host a Special Issue on Computational
Ethnomusicology to appear in 2013.


We invite contributions describing the use of computational tools to
model ethnic, folk or traditional music repertoires, including, but
not limited to:

• Music transcription and notation.
• Music signal processing.
• Intonation, melody and motives.
• Harmony, tonality, scale analysis.
• Rhythm, tempo, rhythmic patterns.
• Timbre, instrumentation and voice.
• Music similarity.
• Performance analysis.
• Emotion and aesthetics.
• Genre, style and mood.
• Libraries, archives and digital collections.
• Evaluation and annotation issues.
• Preservation and restoration of historical recordings.
• Culture- specific taxonomies and ontologies.

Submissions must pose and describe the music problem thoroughly, a
deep account of the methods employed, and a comprehensive and critical
evaluation of results. Authors can use any musical representation
(e.g. symbolic or audio data) for their studies.


Submissions must follow the style and formatting guidelines of the
Journal of New Music Research, and must be submitted through the
Journal’s Manuscript Central Site (not to the editors directly) at
http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/nnmr. On the Manuscript Type menu,
authors should indicate “SI – Computational Ethnomusicology”.

Submissions should be roughly 6,000 words in length. This corresponds
roughly to 16 pages using latex fullpage/12pt/a4paper/doublespacing.
To be considered for the Special Issue, submissions must be received
no later than June 20th, 2012.


• June 20, 2012 deadline for manuscript submission
• October 5, 2012 responses to authors
• December 5, 2012 camera ready papers due
• June 2013 Special Issue in print

Questions and queries regarding the suitability of topics/research to
the Special Issue should be directed to the Guest Editors:

• Emilia Gómez (emilia.gomez@upf.edu)
• Perfecto Herrera (perfecto.herrera@upf.edu)
Music Technology Group, Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Sonology
Department, Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
• Francisco Gómez (fmartin@eui.upm.es), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

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III Interdisciplinary Conference in Flamenco Research – INFLA and II International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis – FMA

Some news about the INFLA-FMA event I am co-organizing!



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III INterdisciplinary Conference in FLAmenco Research (INFLA 2012) and II International Workhop of Folk Music Analysis (FMA 2012)

I am co-organizing an international scientific event in my city, Seville, which is in fact, the most wonderful event I can think of at the moment: flamenco, folk music, music computing, april, Sevilla!

You can find at the web all the needed information. I am very happy as I think it will be an amazing event and an oportunity for everyone to come to the Feria de Sevilla this year 🙂

I hope many people will join.

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