One of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols, “Silent Night” was written nearly two centuries ago, yet keeps resonating in Christmas festivities. Read the article here.
Young musicians from the makeshift Oaxaca neighbourhood of Vicente Guerrero have defied the odds to offer hope to their blighted community. Read the article at the Guardian.
There is a stark reality increasingly facing American orchestras: They are now charities, relying more, on average, on philanthropy than on the ticket sales that used to buttress them. Read the story at the New York Times.
Musical training can have a dramatic impact on your brain’s structure, enhancing your memory, spatial reasoning and language skills. Read the article at the Guardian.
The classical establishment may soon have to figure out where to put contemporary composers, if only for its own survival. Read more at the Independent.
Voice teachers and singers understand that physical posture directly affects the quality of the singing voice. Posture is usually addressed in the first voice lesson, and in this age of more casual stances, singers typically need numerous reminders about this issue. Continue reading the article here.
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college choir across Britain have been exclusively populated by school-age boys – but with the admission of girls, an outdated practice is finally breaking down.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.