About

ERC ADG COSMOS: Computational Shaping and Modeling of Musical Structures (Principal Investigator: Elaine Chew) is a European Research Council Advanced Grant project at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) – UMR9912 Sciences et technologies de la musique et du son (STMS).

The STMS is a joint research unit of the CNRS, IRCAM, Sorbonne University, and the French Ministry of Culture. The laboratory is located at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in the center of Paris; IRCAM is organizationally linked to the Pompidou Centre.

The Project COSMOS

COSMOS aims to use data science, optimization / data analytics, and citizen science to study musical structures as they are created in music performances and in unusual sources such as cardiac arrhythmias. The project summary is given below and on the European Commission’s CORDIS website.

Objective: Music performance is considered by many to be one of the most breath taking feats of human intelligence. That music performance is a creative act is no longer a disputed fact, but the very nature of this creative work remains illusive. Taking the view that the creative work of performance is the making and shaping of music structures, and that this creative thinking is a form of problem solving, COSMOS proposes an integrated programme of research to transform our understanding of the human experience of performed music, which is almost all music that we hear, and of the creativity of music performance, which addresses how music is made. The research themes are as follows: i) to find new ways to represent, explore, and talk about performance; ii) to harness volunteer thinking (citizen science) for music performance research by focussing on structures experienced and problem solving; iii) to create sandbox environments to experiment with making performed structures; iv) to create theoretical frameworks to discover the reasoning behind the structures perceived and made; and, v) to foster community engagement by training experts to provide feedback on structure solutions so as to increase public understanding of the creative work in music performance. Analysis of the perceived and designed structures will be based on a novel duality paradigm that turns conventional computational music structure analysis on its head to reverse engineer why a perceiver or a performer chooses a particular structure. Embedded in the approach is the use of computational thinking to optimise representations and theories to ensure accuracy, robustness, efficiency, and scalability. The PI is an established performer and a leading authority in music representation, music information research, and music perception and cognition. The project will have far reaching impact, reconfiguring expert and public views of music performance and time-varying music-like sequences such as cardiac arrhythmia.

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