Monday, September 22, 2008

Cool Stuff at ISMIR (contd.)

Tuesday began with an excellent panel discussion on commercial applications of MIR work featuring Markus Cremer (Gracenote), Etienne Handman (Pandora), Elias Pampalk (, Anthony Volodkin (Hype Machine) and Brian Whitman (Echonest). Seems like there actually is money to be made out of all this!

Doug Eck and Thierry Bertin-Mahieux presented more great work, this time along with Pierre-Antoine Manzagol. On the Use of Sparse Time-Relative Auditory Codes for Music. Using a greedy gammatone decomosition of music, they were able to represent a spectrum as a sparse, spikey sequence of basis kernels. Then they went further and started trying to learn the kernels for music (ala Lewicki's work on speech and natural audio). Periodic but not sinusoidal, long time kernels seem to be what work best but there's more to come I bet...

Charlie Inskip had a fascinating stories to tell about his experiences of 20 years managing bands that toured the world. One of his tasks was to try to get their music into film, tv and ads. Now he's following an academic path (alas, "everyone gets tired of staying out in bars and clubs til 4am, five nights a week") and is interviewing music supervisors (the people who find the right music for film etc.), film makers and record label people to find out about thier process of using words to describr the type of music they're looking for. Music, Movies and Meaning: Communication in Film-Makers’ Search for Pre-Existing Music, and the Implications for Music Information Retrieval. Right up my street.

Bryan Duggan was the only other Irishman I could find at ISMIR. He had a crowd-pleasing demonstration of his traditional Irish music identification and retrieval system that could listen to his flute playing (realtime, noisy environment), transcribe it, remove ornamentations and match the tune to a database of traditional reels, jigs and hooleys. Nice to see good MIR work happening in Ireland.

The always excellent guys from the Music Technology Group at UPF (give me a job!) showed how to construct structured taxonomies from unordered folksonomies: The Quest for Musical Genres: Do the Experts and the Wisdom of Crowds Agree?

On Wednesday night, there was an excellent concert featuring the Princeton laptop orchestra, led by the crazy Perry Cook and cool Ge Wang. As well as developing a new language for strongly-timed music synthesis and analysis (ChucK), building cool new interfaces for music and composing all this crazy music, these guys have also developed a highly-viral new iPhone app - the Sonic Lighter.

As well as a very well-attended demo of my music annotation game, Herd It, Thursday had cool demos of dancing robots, Oscar Celma's geo-music search engine that lets you create playlists from paths across a globe and Frank and Paul's excellent semantic search engine.

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