Information and neural dynamics in the perception of musical structure

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Mary University of London
Department Name: Sch of Electronic Eng & Computer Science

Abstract

Music is one of the things that makes us human. No known human society exists without music; and no other species seems to exhibit musical behaviour, in the same sense as humans. It is an open question where music came from (in terms of evolution), but it is self-evident that it arises from the human brain: for there to be music, a brain was involved somewhere, even if only in listening. What is not evident at all is how brains (or the minds to which they give rise) make, or even perceive, music. This project aims to understand how human musical behaviour can be modelled using computers, by building programs which embody theories of how the musical mind works, and then comparing them with humans engaged in musical activity and also by comparing their predictions with those of an expert music analyst. This means that the project will contribute to various areas of study: computer music, statistical methods for cognitive modelling (and therefore to cognitive linguistics, because the same kinds of models can be used there), musicology, and neuroscience (both in a better understanding of brain function and with new methods for neural signal analysis). Long term outcomes are likely to be computer systems that help music education, that play music musically, and that interact with human musicians musically; understanding that helps musicians do what they do more effectively; and understanding that helps brain scientists and psychologists understand more about how the brain and the mind work. Above all, since musicality is so fundamental to humanity, the project aims to help understand some of what it means to be human.

Publications

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Wiggins GA (2015) The evolutionary roots of creativity: mechanisms and motivations. in Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences

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Wiggins G (2012) The Mind's Chorus: Creativity Before Consciousness in Cognitive Computation

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Wiggins G (2012) On the correctness of imprecision and the existential fallacy of absolute music in Journal of Mathematics and Music

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Wiggins G (2012) The future of (mathematical) music theory in Journal of Mathematics and Music

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Wiggins G (2012) Music, mind and mathematics: theory, reality and formality in Journal of Mathematics and Music

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Rohrmeier M (2015) Principles of structure building in music, language and animal song. in Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences

 
Description We showed, as predicted, that the perception and cognition of music is predictable from models of sequence using the information theory of Claude Shannon.
Exploitation Route Software was produced during the project and has been made freely available, open source. This is being used in various other labs.

The ideas in the project may be (and have been) taken forward into further models of cognition.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other

URL https://code.soundsoftware.ac.uk/projects/idyom-project
 
Description ConCreTe
Amount £1,931,591 (GBP)
Funding ID ConCreTe 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 09/2013 
End 09/2016
 
Description Learning To Create
Amount £1,931,663 (GBP)
Funding ID Lrn2Cre8 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 09/2013 
End 09/2016
 
Title IDyOM software 
Description This is a suite of software, designed and built by Dr Marcus Pearce, that predicts human expectation during perception of musical melodies. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Other researchers are using it for their work. 
URL https://code.soundsoftware.ac.uk/projects/idyom-project/files
 
Description IDyOM 
Organisation Goldsmiths, University of London
Department Department of Music
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This was a collaborative research project funded by EPSRC. We supplied computer science; partners supplied expertise in music and psychology, respectively.
Collaborator Contribution This was a collaborative research project funded by EPSRC. We supplied computer science; partners supplied expertise in music and psychology, respectively.
Impact Multi-disciplinary: Computer Science, Psychology, Music
Start Year 2010
 
Description IDyOM 
Organisation Goldsmiths, University of London
Department Department of Psychology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This was a collaborative research project funded by EPSRC. We supplied computer science; partners supplied expertise in music and psychology, respectively.
Collaborator Contribution This was a collaborative research project funded by EPSRC. We supplied computer science; partners supplied expertise in music and psychology, respectively.
Impact Multi-disciplinary: Computer Science, Psychology, Music
Start Year 2010
 
Description IDyOM 
Organisation Queen Mary University of London
Department School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This was a collaborative research project funded by EPSRC. We supplied computer science; partners supplied expertise in music and psychology, respectively.
Collaborator Contribution This was a collaborative research project funded by EPSRC. We supplied computer science; partners supplied expertise in music and psychology, respectively.
Impact Multi-disciplinary: Computer Science, Psychology, Music
Start Year 2010
 
Description BBC News interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was interviewed, along with my doctoral student, Tom Hedges, about production of computer-created music. The article was carried on BBC News (6 o'clock and 10 o'clock) and on BBC World (international). A longer version was run on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015