I am currently studying for a PhD in the school of Informatics, Edinburgh University. I am supervised by Mark Steedman.
I am researching the use of grammars such as are used for analysis of natural language to analyse harmonic structure in jazz. Specifically, I am using Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG) to parse jazz chord sequences, analysing their structure in terms of cadences and resolutions.
The work is based on the premise that we listen to played music and spoken language in similar ways and employ some of the same sorts of structural processing to our understanding the two.
The grammars produce an analysis that represents movements that the chord roots make about a notional tonal space. This amounts to a semantic interpretation analogous to the sort of logical semantics used to represent the meaning of a sentence.
During much of the project we have tackled the problem of identifying harmonic structure underlying chord sequences, created by tension-resolution relationships between chords. We are also interested in finding ways of applying the same analysis to lower-level representations of harmony, like MIDI, and the project has touched on some simple ways of extending the analysis to this. We use statistical parsing techniques adapted from those used to parse sentences in natural language processing.
Applications of this work include intelligent automatic transcription of music, generation of coherent variations on melodies and chord sequences and music information retrieval tasks involving metrics of harmonic similarity.