[Smt-talk] RN analyzers

Kris Shaffer kshaffer at csuniv.edu
Sat Feb 25 16:38:18 PST 2012

In addition to what Myke mentioned, developing analytical software forces analysts to codify their expertise and intuition very specifically. Doing so has numerous benefits. For one, it can reveal holes in one's theories, leading to the production of a more refined, robust understanding of the music in question as algorithms are tweaked to better match the results of analyses by "experts." It also can lead to the theorist/analyst becoming a better teacher, as the medium requires a specific and methodical laying out of the theory and its application. That doesn't always carry over to college freshmen, but it can.

Kris Shaffer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Music Theory
Charleston Southern University
twitter: @krisshaffer

On Feb 25, 2012, at 11:10 AM, Michael Scott Cuthbert wrote:

> Dear Christian,
> The output of programs to automatically analyze pieces are usually far less important than the class of questions that having large, searchable repertories of analyzed pieces opens up.  So for instance one could ask “Does V43 move to I or I6 more often during the period 1700-1900 and how does the distribution of resolutions change according to time period, region, and/or composer?”  If the software is more trustworthy then you can ask rather finely grained questions; if the software is less accurate then you can probably still find things like whether the relative frequency of a common chord differs significantly between one area and another.
> One thing that the work of De Clercq and Temperley show for me is that there’s a limit to the accuracy of any system, somewhere around 95% -- beyond that even trained professionals will disagree about the labeling (even taking into account orthography differences such as I64 vs V64) of chords; going above 95% most likely means that the system has learned to mimic one analyst’s labels, not that it’s getting the “true” label for any given chord.
> Best,
> Michael
> From: Christian Goursaud [mailto:christian.goursaud at gmail.com] 
> Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 17:24
> To: Michael Scott Cuthbert
> Cc: smt smt-talk
> Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] RN analyzers
> I would be interested to hear what are the proposed goals of the development of such software, beyond the obvious technical challenges posed to developers. What would be the ultimate utility of software which could mimic conventional human translation of music-notational data to roman-numeric functional analysis?
> Best,
> Christian
> --
> Christian Goursaud
> PhD candidate, Birmingham Conservatoire
> +44 (0)7796033585
> christian.goursaud at gmail.com
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