A digital toolbox for analysing world music

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This presentation will discuss and demonstrate a digital toolbox designed to facilitate analytical engagement with music that is both aural and interactive. It is one of the main outcomes of the ERC-funded project IRiMaS, Interactive Research in Music as Sound. The toolbox, TIAALS (Tools for Interactive Aural Analysis), is designed to be easy for musicologists to use and does not require any specialist technical skills. It enables researchers to created integrated analytical documents in which sound is central to the analytical process and presentation. Analysis becomes more directly linked to aural experience, more playful, more interactive.
We believe such interactive engagement with sound has an important role to play in the study of all musics. But it is perhaps especially important when musicologists are analysing music that does not easily fit into the traditional (often Western) notational molds or analytical terminology, or where analysts are working across different musical traditions. Such an approach facilitates broader access to analytical findings and encourages ‘readers’ to participate in the analytical process, interacting with the sound-world for themselves. A TIAALS session can comprise multiple pages/slides (rather as in PowerPoint). These pages can contain text and images as well as more specific analytical content. For example, analytical charts can be created that can be played - multiple buttons may be placed on any type of chart (e.g. paradigmatic, formal, geographical) which play relevant sound or video extracts from the music. TIAALS pages can also contain waveform displays or sonograms. Our sonograms are not just static visual representations, they are interactive and can be manipulated, for example to extract specific portions of the music in time and frequency to be played. Audio descriptor maps may also be created either employing audio descriptor data derived using computer algorithms or inputted by users on the basis of their subjective experience. Videos may also be incorporated and annotated or tagged as appropriate. They may show musical performances, musician interviews or document social context, for example.
We will discuss the rationale for this approach and demonstrate how TIAALS can be used to create new analytical documents in practice.
Period17 Jun 2022
Event titleAnalytical Approaches to World Music Conference 2022
Event typeConference
LocationSheffield, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational