24 February 2012

MIT Tech Article on Michael Cuthbert

Derek Chang of the MIT Tech published an interview with me in today's issue. Read it here. The opening appears below:

$500,000 grant for music research at MIT

Michael Scott Cuthbert, associate professor of music, was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the Digging into Data consortium. This grant will support his work in using computational techniques to study changes in Western musical style. He has received $175,000 specifically for his music21 project . On Thursday, Cuthbert sat with The Tech to discuss his work with music21 and his passion for combining computational techniques with music.

The Tech: Many of us with a musical background must be interested in your computational work and how it applies to music. What is the motivation behind your project?

Cuthbert: One of the main ways artists analyze art work or music is examining a piece very carefully, from all possible dimensions. But it’s really hard to put the work into the context of the time. How is the piece representative of its time period, or how does it break the mold? It takes us a very long time to look at one piece. In contrast, computers are good at getting an overview of a particular problem. For example, what patterns exist in how chords progress from one to another? Is the piece being looked at representative of the music grammar for the period? (...read more...)

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