When quoting this document, please refer to the following
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-19873
Go to the corresponding Portal

Byrd, Donald

Studying Music is Difficult and Important: Challenges of Music Knowledge Representation

09051.ByrdDonald.1987.pdf (0.03 MB)


* Music is an art, so many musicians try to use its elements in interesting and original
ways, not standardized and ordinary ways. (cf. Collins 2006)

* Music is a performing art, so we have both performances and symbolic representations
(both scores and transcriptions of performances).

* Much music, especially Western, has synchronization requirements of a complexity
equalled in no presentation of information for human consumption -- art form or other --
we are aware of.

* Music involves many different instruments, often in groups. No other art form we know
of has anything like this, and it opens up the possibility of versions of a given work
for other ensembles or at other levels of technical demands.

* Music is often combined with text.

* Music is extremely popular, so, for many works, numerous versions actually exist.

For all these reasons, music is uniquely difficult, and uniquely valuable, to deal with
-- especially by computer.

To support the argument, we give examples in the form of conventional Western music
notation that either violate -- in several cases, blatantly -- the supposed rules of
music notation, or that bring up difficult issues of music representation (see Byrd 1994
and Byrd 2009). We also give examples in audio form from some unpublished work of ours
to point out the astounding range of what is considered music by one culture or another.


Byrd, Donald (1994). Music Notation Software and Intelligence. Computer Music Journal
18(1), pp. 17-20; available (in scanned form) at .

Byrd, Donald (2009). Gallery of Interesting Music Notation. Available at .

Collins, Nick (2006, Winter). Composing to Subvert Content Retrieval Engines.
ICMA Array, Winter 2006, pp. 37-41.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{Donald Byrd},
  title =	{Studying Music is Difficult and Important: Challenges of Music Knowledge Representation},
  booktitle =	{Knowledge representation for intelligent music processing },
  year =	{2009},
  editor =	{Eleanor Selfridge-Field and Frans Wiering and Geraint A. Wiggins},
  number =	{09051},
  series =	{Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings},
  ISSN =	{1862-4405},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik, Germany},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  annote =	{Keywords: Music computing, representation}

Keywords: Music computing, representation
Collection: 09051 - Knowledge representation for intelligent music processing
Issue Date: 2009
Date of publication: 23.04.2009

DROPS-Home | Fulltext Search | Imprint | Privacy Published by LZI