Modeling harmony with skip-grams

David R.W. Sears, Andreas Arzt, Harald Frostel, Reinhard Sonnleitner, Gerhard Widmer

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

Abstract

String-based (or viewpoint) models of tonal harmony often struggle with data sparsity in pattern discovery and prediction tasks, particularly when modeling composite events like triads and seventh chords, since the number of distinct n-note combinations in polyphonic textures is potentially enormous. To address this problem, this study examines the efficacy of skip-grams in music research, an alternative viewpoint method developed in corpus linguistics and natural language processing that includes sub-sequences of n events (or n-grams) in a frequency distribution if their constituent members occur within a certain number of skips. Using a corpus consisting of four datasets of Western classical music in symbolic form, we found that including skip-grams reduces data sparsity in n-gram distributions by (1) minimizing the proportion of n-grams with negligible counts, and (2) increasing the coverage of contiguous n-grams in a test corpus. What is more, skip-grams significantly outperformed contiguous n-grams in discovering conventional closing progressions (called cadences).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2017
EditorsSally Jo Cunningham, Zhiyao Duan, Xiao Hu, Douglas Turnbull
PublisherInternational Society for Music Information Retrieval
Pages332-338
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9789811151798
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Event18th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2017 - Suzhou, China
Duration: Oct 23 2017Oct 27 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 18th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2017

Conference

Conference18th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2017
CountryChina
CitySuzhou
Period10/23/1710/27/17

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  • Cite this

    Sears, D. R. W., Arzt, A., Frostel, H., Sonnleitner, R., & Widmer, G. (2017). Modeling harmony with skip-grams. In S. J. Cunningham, Z. Duan, X. Hu, & D. Turnbull (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2017 (pp. 332-338). (Proceedings of the 18th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2017). International Society for Music Information Retrieval.