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Investigating the role of score following in automatic musical accompaniment

Jordanous, Anna, Smaill, Alan (2009) Investigating the role of score following in automatic musical accompaniment. Journal of New Music Research, 38 (2). pp. 197-209. ISSN 0929-8215. E-ISSN 1744-5027. (doi:10.1080/09298210903180245) (KAR id:42371)


When suitable accompanists are not available to a soloist musician, an alternative possibility is to use computer-generated accompaniment. A computer accompanist should interact with the soloist and adapt to the soloist's playing as a human accompanist would, both reacting to expressive nuances of tempo and to unintentional errors such as wrong or mistimed notes. Over the past 25 years, accompaniment systems have been developed, all of which employ some form of score following: the process of following a musician's progress through the score of a piece during performance. This work considers the role of score following in automatic accompaniment. In this investigation we developed a computer accompanist that employs score following. Our computer musician uses Hidden Markov Models to model the score by metrical structure and to provide accompaniment to a soloist playing monophonic music in real time, as the soloist is playing. Working with MIDI input/output, it tracks tempo fluctuations, anticipates the soloist's next note and supports some amount of unintentional deviation from the score. Qualitative evaluation, by human testers, and quantitative evaluation, using measurable criteria taken from MIREX, reported that the system performs adequately. We then used interviews with eight human accompanists to consider how well a score following system models the accompaniment process. This evaluation raises questions about the musical interaction between soloist and accompanist that have received relatively little attention. The information we gathered from interviews suggests the importance of other aspects of accompaniment, such as the sharing of shape of the performance between musicians, rather than treating the accompanist as purely subservient. We discuss the implications of these issues for the design of automated accompanists.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/09298210903180245
Additional information: Special Issue: Musical Structure
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 76 Software, computer programming, > QA76.575 Multimedia systems
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: Anna Jordanous
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2014 10:34 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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