Digital Musicology Workshop at DHOxSS 2017


A wealth of music and music-related information is now available digitally, offering tantalizing possibilities for digital musicologies. These resources include large collections of audio and scores, bibliographic and biographic data, and performance ephemera -- not to mention the 'hidden' existence of these in other digital content. With such large and wide ranging opportunities come new challenges in methods, principally in adapting technological solutions to assist musicologists in identifying, studying, and disseminating scholarly insights from amongst this 'data deluge'.

This workshop provides an introduction to computational and informatics methods that can be, and have been, successfully applied to musicology. Many of these techniques have their foundations in computer science, library and information science, mathematics and most recently Music Information Retrieval (MIR); sessions are delivered by expert practitioners from these fields and presented in the context of their collaborations with musicologists, and by musicologists relating their experiences of these multidisciplinary investigations.

The workshop comprises of a series of lectures and hands-on sessions, supplemented with reports from musicology research exemplars. Theoretical lectures are paired with practical sessions in which attendees are guided through their own exploration of the topics and tools covered. Laptops will be loaned to attendees with the appropriate specialised software installed and preconfigured.

Workshop convener

Kevin Page is a senior researcher at the University of Oxford e­-Research Centre. His work on web architecture and the semantic annotation and distribution of data has, through participation in several UK, EU, and international projects, been applied across a wide variety of domains including sensor networks, music information retrieval, clinical healthcare, and remote collaboration for space exploration. He is the Oxford investigator for the Workset Creation for Scholarly Analysis (WCSA+DC) project and co-investigator of Digital Delius, Oxford Linked Open Data (OXLOD), and Mapping Manuscript Migrations (part of the Digging into Data Challenge). He leads a Linked Data team at Oxford for the AHRC Transforming Musicology and EPSRC Fusing Audio and Semantic Technologies (FAST) projects. Previously he has been the principal investigator of the the Early English Print in HathiTrust (ElEPHãT) and Semantic Linking of BBC Radio (SLoBR) projects.



Time Title Speakers
Mon 3 July
11:00 - 11:15 Overview of Digital Musicology Workshop Kevin Page
11:15 - 11:30 Roundtable introduction from attendees Chair: Kevin Page
11:30 - 12:00 Digital Musicology: a personal perspective David Lewis
12:00 - 12:30 An Introduction to Music Information Retrieval: musicological implications J. Stephen Downie
14:00 - 16:00 Hands on: Using computers to analyse recordings: An introduction to signal processing David Weigl, Stephen Downie and Chris Cannam
16:30 - 17:00 Using computers to analyse recordings (contd.)  
17:00 - 17:30 Using computer analyses to index and find recordings David Lewis
Tue 5 July
11:00 - 11:45 Historical musicology and digital cataloguing: achievements and possibilities Joana Bullivant
11:45 - 12:30 Authorial Fingerprinting for Renaissance Polyphony: Finding Contrapuntal Formulas in Two Corpora of French Chansons Catherine Motuz
14:00 - 16:00 Training computers automatically to recognise patterns in recordings David Weigl and J. Stephen Downie
16:30 - 17:30 Methods for analysing large-scale resources and big music data Tillman Weyde
Wed 6 July
11:00 - 12:30 Annotating and structuring musicological knowledge on the Web using Linked Data Kevin Page
14:00 - 16:00 Digitised Notated Music: hands on with MEI David Lewis, Andrew Hankinson and David M. Weigl
16:30 - 17:30 Symbolic music analysis of renaissance counterpoint: current challenges Frauke Jurgensen
Thu 7 July
11:00 - 12:30 Automatic transcription of scnned notation: state of the art and applications. Hands on with Gamera Andrew Hankinson
14:00 - 14:30 An overview of software and data management best practice David Weigl
14:30 - 16:00 Computer processing of digital notated music: hands on with music21 (includes an introduction to programming in Python) David Lewis and David M. Weigl
16:30 - 17:30 Hands on with music21 (contd.)  
Fri 8 July
11:00 - 12:30 A case study in Early Music: From digitisation to musicological research Tim Crawford
14:00 - 16:00 Hands on: from digitisation to analysis, an end-to-end example Tim Crawford, David Lewis, Andrew Hankinson, David Weigl, Kevin Page
16:30 - 17:30 Round table discussion: applied digital musicology in your research Everyone


Web pages


The hands-on sessions of the workshop made use of a variety of software which was supplied to the students on specially customised laptops. All of the software used is free software and is also available free of charge online.

Sonic Visualiser
Vamp plugins
Tony (tool for melodic transcription)
  • Several of the tools used require Python
  • We used version 3.5
  • Python comes pre-installed with Mac OS
  • For Windows, see the download page
Jupyter (formerly IPython)

Speaker biographies

Joanna Bullivant (University of Oxford) is a musicologist educated at the University of Oxford, who specialises in early twentieth-century British music, musical modernism, and music and politics. She has a growing interest in digital musicology through her work creating a digital catalogue for the AHRC project ‘Delius, Modernism, and the Sound of Place’. As part of a research team encompassing scholars at the Oxford E-Research Centre and the Oxford Faculty of Music and the British Library, she will be embarking in September on a new Delius project, creating a pioneering interactive digital exhibition on the composer for the British Library, and running a range of educational events for 16-21 year olds.

Chris Cannam is Principal Research Software Developer in the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London, where he works with researchers to produce useful software for music analysis. He is the primary author of the Sonic Visualiser application and many of its plugins.

Andrew Hankinson is a Senior Software Engineer with the Bodleian Libraries in the Digital Research area. He earned a Masters in Library and Information Studies and a PhD in Music Information Retrieval from McGill University. Andrew specializes in working with large collections of digitized music documents, opening access to these collections by using document image recognition technologies to make them searchable. He is also a member of the board of the Music Encoding Initiative, and a collaborator on the Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis (SIMSSA) project.

David Lewis is a researcher based at the Oxford e-Research Centre. He has recently worked on projects at Goldsmiths, University of London, Birmingham Conservatoire, Universität des Saarlandes and Universiteit Utrecht. His research focusses on the creation, dissemination and use of digital corpora of music (such as the Electronic Corpus of Lute Music) and music theory ( and Thesaurus Musicarum Italicarum).

Catherine Motuz enjoys an active career in North America and Europe as a performer, teacher, and scholar. Co-director of Ensemble La Rose des Vents in Montreal and a founding member of I Fedeli, she has played and recorded with ensembles including Concerto Palatino, the Amsterdam and Freiburg Baroque Orchestras, the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Recent recordings include 17th-Century Italian Motets, with ¡Sacabuche! and Fede e Amor: Baroque Music with Trombones with countertenor Alex Potter. She has taught baroque trombone, Renaissance music and counterpoint at McGill University, and baroque trombone at the University of Montreal.

Catherine lived in Basel, Switzerland, from 2004 to 2011, where she studied historical trombone with Charles Toet at the Schola Cantorum. Now a Ph.D. Candidate in musicology at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, she has been active on the Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis (SIMSSA) project, investigating the use of computational musicology in understanding musical style. Her primary research interests include historical improvisation, while her dissertation focuses on ideas about musical expression in the early Renaissance.

David M. Weigl is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Oxford e-Research Centre. His work involves the application of Linked Data and semantic technologies in order to enrich digital music information and facilitate access to a variety of musical data sources. His research interests revolve around music perception and cognition, and music information retrieval.

Tillman Weyde studied Music, Mathematics, and Computer Science, and has been an active researcher for over 20 years on the intersection between machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science, with music and signal analysis. Tillman is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at City University London and leads the Music Informatics Research Group  there. He was the Principal Investigator in the AHRC Digital Transformation Project ‘Digital Music Lab - Analysing Big Music Data’ and is a partner in the upcoming Digging Into Data project 'Dig That Lick: Analysing Large-Scale Data For Melodic Patterns In Jazz Performances'.