Digitizing a 19th-Century Music Theory Debate for Computational Analysis


We report the progress of the ongoing project “Digitizing the Dualism Debate: a case study in the computational analysis of historical music theory sources”. First, we give a brief introduction to the dualism debate, a central discussion in 19th-century German music theory. We then describe the transcription pipeline with which we process the digitized sources in order to arrive at a corpus of computationally feasible representations, and discuss a number of encountered challenges, e.g. the assignment of structural types and idiosyncratic symbols. Employing text similarity measures and topic modeling, we present some preliminary analyses. Future steps include text annotation, music encoding, and the presentation of the corpus with an online interface.

CHR 2021: Computational Humanities Research Conference, November 17–19, 2021, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Fabian C. Moss
Postdoctoral Researcher

Fabian C. Moss is a postdoctoral researcher in the Digital and Cognitive Musicology Lab (DCML) at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland). He was born in Cologne, Germany, and studied Mathematics and Educational Studies at University of Cologne, and Music Education (Major Piano) and Musicology at Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Köln. Working with large symbolic datasets of musical scores and harmonic annotations, he is primarily interested in Computational Music Analysis, Music Theory, Music Cognition, and their mutual relationship.