Interactive Research in Music as Sound:
Transforming Digital Musicology
Post-Doctoral Research Fellows:
IRiMaS is a five-year project (2017-2022) funded by a €2.5m European Research Council Advanced Grant. This ground-breaking project’s aim is to harness the potential of C21st technology to research interactive aural approaches to music analysis, and to musicology more broadly. Building on earlier work, the project is devising generic software tools and specific case studies to develop and demonstrate the potential of working with software to facilitate direct engagement with music as sound as part of musicological research.
IRiMaS significantly expands ideas and techniques previously explored in the context of electroacoustic music in the AHRC-funded project TaCEM, Technology and Creativity in Electroacoustic Music and in earlier work on Interactive Aural Analysis. It aims to further develop this approach and make it applicable across the whole range of different musics.
In an age when technology is revolutionizing the ways in which music is made and distributed, this project proposes correspondingly to transform approaches to musicology, moving from a primarily fixed, text-based approach to one that incorporates as an integral feature the interactive and aural. It brings skills and expertise from music technology to assist in the development of research strategies and software to enable musicological research to engage more directly with sound. It will pioneer a ground-breaking approach to music research in which dynamic interaction with sound is fundamental and music’s temporal and transient nature are central to research investigations and their dissemination, presenting a significant conceptual challenge to the traditional textual bias of much musical research and leading to new enhanced modes of musicological knowledge. Unlike current Digital Musicology, rather than using software primarily to extract quantized data, IRiMaS takes interactive engagement with sound as the foundation for research.
The interactive approach will be developed in the context of three Case Studies in specific areas where prioritizing the aural is of particular significance. The Case Studies will focus on Spectralism in the field of Contemporary ‘Art’ Music; Tracking the Creative Process in Free Improvisation; and Folk Songs in Performance in the field of Ethnomusicology. Each study will produce substantial ground-breaking musicological outcomes in the form of software packages (as is appropriate to the nature of the project) and associated articles discussing the approach taken. They will also assist in working towards the development of models and generic tools to help establish the wider adoption of this interactive approach. Building on the PI's previous experience in related areas, researchers from musicological and technical backgrounds will come together to help realize these ambitious aims.
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 741904).