AHRC Doctoral Studentship in Computational Musicology The Transforming Musicology Project

School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

AHRC Doctoral Studentship in Computational Musicology

We invite applications for a Doctoral Studentship, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, in Computational Musicology, located at Queen Mary University of London, under the supervision of Professor Geraint Wiggins.

The Transforming Musicology Project

The studentship is part of the “Transforming Musicology” project, centred at Goldsmiths, University of London, but including as research partners Queen Mary University of London, the University of Oxford and Lancaster University. This project, led by Prof Tim Crawford in the Computing Department of Goldsmiths, University of London, brings together 15 researchers to effect a Digital Transformation of the discipline of musicology.

The world of music has been already transformed by the digital revolution. The same technology that has given unprecedented access to music for a vast and ever-growing international audience can open musicology up to the world – anyone and everyone can contribute by a variety of means enabled by that technology. We will show how the computational tools of music information retrieval (MIR) can be enhanced and adapted to the needs of musicologists, and how state-of-the-art developments in the Semantic Web can be exploited both to make their work more relevant and more sustainable, so that their methods can be easily re-used on new data.

This project will stimulate creativity through multidisciplinary collaborative working. In the past, musicologists have tended to be lone scholars; regular collaboration in a multidisciplinary research environment will in future be essential for them to find what is “interesting” in potentially huge collections of music. We shall be using MIR tools in three main strands of research. Two of these are typical subjects for musicology and will be conducted by world-leading experts: 16th-century music and Wagnerian leitmotives. These will use state-of-the-art score- and audio-analysis techniques to extend the range of musicological investigation beyond the normal limitation to printed scores. We’ll also be doing psychological work at Goldsmiths to study why leitmotives are so recognisable (or not). Our third main research strand is entirely novel, being nothing less than a prototype for a new ‘musicology of the social media’. Music is now created, recorded, distributed, re-used and shared entirely online throughout the world and we will explore a whole new way of studying it and the online spread of musical ideas.

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Musicology should not be an ‘ivory-tower’ discipline; most people are interested in where music comes from, how it is conceived and made, how it affects us and society. Music goes on in people’s minds, and the study of music is essentially about interactions between people. Because of this, music raises a complex mixture of philosophical, psychological and intellectual challenges; so it is a particularly fruitful domain for working through technical challenges which will be more widely applicable to the Digital Humanities and beyond.

The Studentship

The specific aim of the open studentship is to research and develop new methods for the representation of, and inference about, music-theoretic and perceptual aspects of music, based on, but not restricted to, past work by Prof. Wiggins and colleagues. This will be deployed using Semantic Web technology.

The studentship will be located in a very rich research environment, first within the Transforming Musicology project, but also within the Computational Creativity Lab at QMUL, and the successful candidate will be encouraged to interact with other researchers in both of these contexts.

The studentship will require either a trained music theorist with very well-developed computational skills, or a trained computer scientist with a strong musical background, with evidence of music-theoretic understanding. Applicants formally qualified in both areas will be particularly welcome. The successful applicant may be required to undertake relevant undergraduate and postgraduate interdisciplinary courses as part of the programme of study.

This studentship, funded by an AHRC Doctoral Training Account, is for fees plus a tax-free stipend starting at £15,726 per annum. Further details of the AHRC scheme including terms and conditions can be found here:

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Applicants must satisfy UK residence requirements as defined here:


Candidates must have a first class or 2.i undergraduate degree or equivalent, either with a significant component of music theory, in which case evidence of well-developed practical expertise in computing, including programming, will be required, or in computer science or equivalent, in which case evidence of formal training in music theory (e.g. to grade V or higher) will be required. Candidates with relevant postgraduate qualifications will be particularly welcome, especially if they are qualified in both music and computer science. Other relevant qualifications and/or areas of expertise include (but are not limited to): artificial intelligence, informatics, formal logic and automated reasoning, musicology, knowledge representation, deductive database theory.

Informal enquiries can be made by email to Prof. Geraint Wiggins (geraint.wiggins@eecs.qmul.ac.uk). Please note that Prof. Wiggins is unable to advise, prior to interview, whether an applicant is likely to be selected. To apply please follow the on-line process (by clicking the the ‘Apply’ button below), selecting “Electronic Engineering” in the “A-Z list of research opportunities” and following the instructions on the right hand side of the web page.

Please note that instead of the ‘Research Proposal’ we request a ‘Statement of Research Interests’. Your Statement of Research Interest should answer two questions: (i) Why are you interested in the proposed area? (ii) What is your experience in the proposed area? Your statement should be brief: no more than 500 words or one side of A4 paper. In addition we would also like you to send a sample of your written work, such as your final year dissertation. More details can be found at: www.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/phd/apply.php

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The closing date for the applications is 15 October 2013.

Interviews are expected to take place during November 2013.

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