Welcome to Modelling Music

1st September, 2018

I’ve contemplated for years writing about music theory for an audience with a particular way of thinking. Perhaps that way of thinking could be described as computational or mathematical but it’s really just the peculiar way I think of things as someone whose background includes not only music theory and composition but linguistics, mathematics, and programming.

I chose the name Modelling Music for this blog because the pervasive topic will be how we might model various aspects of music computationally, mathematically, and linguistically.

Hopefully that will appeal to certain people, including you!

I'm not really intending to teach basic music theory but rather to give a different perspective to things people already know. I will have succeeded if people say: “I’ve known that for years but never thought about it that way before.”

As well as music theory itself, I’ve long had an interest in music notation and the representation of music for both humans and computers. As well as corpus linguistics, it was my interest in musical encoding that led to my initial interest in SGML (which, in turn, led to my involvement in the creation of XML). As a linguist, I’m interested not just in the relationship between music and language but in music notation as a language as well.

We’ll also touch on various file formats such as Standard MIDI Files, MusicXML, and the Music Encoding Initiative. We’ll look at tuning systems and theories of harmony from the Ancient Greeks to the 21st century.

Expect some posts to have Python code and others equations but also expect to see analyses of works from Bach to the Beatles.

I guarantee the posts on this blog will be idiosyncratic but I hope that, for a particular audience at least, they will prove interesting.