Orchestration and perception
I am a collaborator on the Analysis, Creation and Teaching of Orchestration (ACTOR) project, which has been awarded a 2018 SSHRC partnership grant. “The ACTOR Partnership proposes to bring the often-neglected topics of timbre and orchestration to the forefront of musical scholarship and practice, through a collaboration including world-class artists, scholars, and scientists. This Partnership links major North American and European universities, conservatories, research centres, orchestras, and companies to develop a solid theoretical basis for orchestration practice and pedagogy, to stimulate the development of new creativity-enhancing digital tools for teaching and learning orchestration, and to apply tools of corpus analysis and machine learning to better understand orchestration practice in over four centuries of music.”
Previously, I was the Project Manager for the Orchestration and Perception Project. Combining my background in music theory and information studies, I directly supervised a team of graduate students (in music theory, musicology, and composition) and developed an empirical analysis approach that combines musical score analyses of PDF files, timings from recordings, and textual analyses of treatises. Currently, I am working with a programmer to design a first-of-its-kind online database research tool to study the catalogued effects within a corpus of orchestral music. The ORCHestration Analysis and Research Database (Orchard) will contain over 5000 annotations of orchestral effects within full movements of orchestral pieces (1787-1943). Each annotation can be viewed on a detail page, which contains information about the composer, work, movement, measures, instrumentation, and a brief description. Users will be able to view the annotated score and listen to a short sound clip. This essential research tool will allow researchers to explore and study orchestration practices at play.
Over the past few decades, there have been extensive efforts to digitize collections of music documents in various formats, such as text (e.g., lyrics), images (e.g., scanned music scores), audio (e.g., recorded music), audiovisual (e.g., recorded video performances), and symbolic notation (e.g., MIDI, MusicXML). However, challenges continue to exist related to structuring and integrating diverse data types in a digital library context. Although the field of Music Information Retrieval (MIR) has focused on developing multimodal search mechanisms, these developments have largely not been integrated within digital libraries. My research investigates the extent to which the current designs and structures of digital libraries meet the needs of librarians in collecting, preserving, organizing, and disseminating diverse types of music documents, as well as the needs of users in searching, accessing, and retrieving this material. Through a survey and interviews with music librarians and staff, I investigate the gap between the current and ideal functionalities of digital libraries and explore various future possibilities and challenges.