Phantom Curves: Scientific Discovery through Interactive Music Visualization


We introduce phantom curves, a novel music-theoretical concept based on the discrete Fourier transform (DFT), and document the creative process that led to their discovery. In particular, we emphasize the importance of interactive web applications for music visualization and analysis. This is demonstrated using the example of the application midiVERTO which affords interactions with the pitch-class content of musical pieces encoded in MIDI format with- out requiring in-depth understanding of the underlying mathematics. We illustrate the analytical value of studying families of phantom curves by applying the concept to music from a Broadway musical, a video game, and a Hollywood movie. This process of discovery thus testifies to the fact that digital tools can bridge disciplinary boundaries between music theory and mathematics, and this interaction can generate new scientific knowledge.

Jul 28, 2022 12:00 AM — Jul 29, 2022 12:00 AM
Municipal Library Prague
Fabian C. Moss
Fabian C. Moss
Research Fellow in Cultural Analytics

Fabian C. Moss is a Research Fellow in Cultural Analytics at University of Amsterdam (UvA). 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. He obtained is PhD in Digital Humanities from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). 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.