Automatic Estimation of Harmonic Tension by Distributed Representation of Chords

Ali Nikrang, David R.W. Sears, Gerhard Widmer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The buildup and release of a sense of tension is one of the most essential aspects of the process of listening to music. A veridical computational model of perceived musical tension would be an important ingredient for many music informatics applications [27]. The present paper presents a new approach to modelling harmonic tension based on a distributed representation of chords. The starting hypothesis is that harmonic tension as perceived by human listeners is related, among other things, to the expectedness of harmonic units (chords) in their local harmonic context. We train a word2vec-type neural network to learn a vector space that captures contextual similarity and expectedness, and define a quantitative measure of harmonic tension on top of this. To assess the veridicality of the model, we compare its outputs on a number of well-defined chord classes and cadential contexts to results from pertinent empirical studies in music psychology. Statistical analysis shows that the model’s predictions conform very well with empirical evidence obtained from human listeners.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic Technology with Swing - 13th International Symposium, CMMR 2017, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsMatthew E.P. Davies, Mitsuko Aramaki, Richard Kronland-Martinet, Sølvi Ystad
PublisherSpringer-Verlag
Pages23-34
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783030016913
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018
Event13th international Symposium on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research, CMMR 2017 - Matosinhos, Portugal
Duration: Sep 25 2017Sep 28 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11265 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Conference

Conference13th international Symposium on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research, CMMR 2017
CountryPortugal
CityMatosinhos
Period09/25/1709/28/17

Keywords

  • Cadence
  • Harmonic progression
  • Musical expectations
  • Musical tension
  • word2vec

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