The AHRC Digital Transformations scheme is concerned with understanding how digital technologies and digital culture can transform research in the arts and humanities. In turn, Transforming Musicology recognises the disruptive changes digital culture has brought about in music and aims to be in the forefront of a consequent transformation of the discipline of musicology. We will explore how software tools being developed by the music information retrieval (MIR) community may be applied in a variety of areas of musical study, specifically:

  • enhancing the use of digitally encoded sources in studying 16th-century lute and vocal music and using such sources to develop new musical pattern matching techniques to enhance existing MIR tools;
  • augmenting traditional study of Richard Wagner's leitmotif technique through audio pattern matching and supporting psychological testing;
  • exploring how musical communities on the Web engage with their music by employing network analysis techniques to investigate musical discussion online.

The project has also funded four mini-projects which were chosen to explore novel and musically innovative ways of deploying the techniques we promote.

A key technological contribution of the project will be the enhancement of Semantic Web provisions for musical study. This will involve augmenting existing controlled vocabularies (known as ontologies) for musical concepts, and especially developing such vocabularies for musical discourse (both academic and non-academic). It will also involve developing and promoting methods to improve the quality and accessibility of music data on the Web; especially the accessibility for automatic applications, following techniques known as linked data.