For centuries, cathedral and college choir across Britain have been exclusively populated by school-age boys – but with the admission of girls, an outdated practice is finally breaking down. Read the article at the Guardian.
Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, stated a question that’s been lurking around the edges of the orchestra world. That is: Is the main purpose of orchestras to play great music, as well as humanly possible? And if not, what is it? Read the story at the Washington Post.
Among the exhibits on display at the Royal Academy of Music during its centenary tribute to the violinist Yehudi Menuhin is a single page of a Bach violin sonata. The printed page is darkened with Menuhin’s pencil markings fixing the contours of a phrase, the direction of bow strokes, fingerings, the speed and width of vibrato: the expression, in graphite, of a player’s interpretation and craft. Read more at the New York Times.
Speaker: Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick (UC Berkeley/CMU)
Time: Monday, June 6, 12 noon
Location: CSE 305
Lunch will be served.
While acoustic signals are continuous in nature, the ways that humans generate pitch in speech and music involve important discrete decisions. As a result, models of pitch must resolve a tension between continuous and combinatorial structure. Similarly, interpreting images of printed documents requires reasoning about both continuous pixels and discrete characters. Focusing on several different tasks that involve human artifacts, I’ll present probabilistic models with this goal in mind. First, I’ll describe an approach to historical document recognition that uses a statistical model of the historical printing press to reason about images, and, as a result, is able to decipher historical documents in an unsupervised fashion. Second, I’ll present an unsupervised system that transcribes acoustic piano music into a symbolic representation by jointly describing the discrete structure of sheet music and the continuous structure of piano sounds. Finally, I’ll present a supervised method for predicting prosodic intonation from text that treats discrete prosodic decisions as latent variables, but directly models pitch in a continuous fashion.
Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick will be starting as an Assistant Professor of Language Technologies in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in the Fall of 2016. Currently, Taylor is a Research Scientist at Semantic Machines Inc. He recently completed his PhD in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, working with professor Dan Klein. Taylor’s research focuses on using machine learning to understand structured human data, including language but also sources like music, document images, and other complex artifacts.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s ‘listening guides’ make use of symbols and Morse code-like notation to aid the experience of a live performance. Read the story at Creative Review.
The Music Library has a new subscription database! MusicalTheaterSongs.com’s easy-to-use interface lets you enter up to 20-plus parameters (voice type, character age, range, ease for accompanist, descriptive characteristics, etc.) to generate a list of songs tailored to needs from an ever-growing database.
“An ancient song repertory will be heard for the first time in 1,000 years this week after being ‘reconstructed’ by a Cambridge researcher and a world-class performer of medieval music”
When Aaron Copland composed the ballet Appalachian Spring for Martha Graham’s eponymous company which was to be premiered at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., he wrote the work for a 13-piece chamber orchestra. The orchestra pit in the library’s auditorium couldn’t accommodate a larger group of musicians. Read about a new full-orchestral version here.
This week, a score composed 200 years ago by a Prague pharmacist is finally being played for an audience — and the pharmacist’s descendants, local musicians, made it happen.
It’s rare for an orchestra to devote a whole performance to works by a single composer — even rarer for that composer to be living, and onstage. Mason Bates, the Kennedy Center’s composer-in-residence, was the focus of the second concert in the National Symphony Orchestra’s new “Declassified” series, which offers a shorter, late-night performance of music that specifically, earnestly and even a little desperately targets a younger generation. Read the article at the Washington Post.