A digital toolbox for musical analysis of computer music: exploring music and technology through sonic experience

Michael Clarke, Frédéric Dufeu, Keitaro Takahashi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Following earlier research in which we used software to create interactive aural analyses of key works from the computer music repertoire, this paper introduces a new set of digital tools, TIAALS (Tools for Interactive Aural Analysis), designed to facilitate other musicologists, who may not themselves be programmers, in producing their own interactive aural analyses of computer music, or indeed music more generally. The goal here is not to automate analysis but rather to provide tools that can enhance the conduct and presentation of music analysis using software to facilitate interactive and aural engagement with the music as sound. Using software in this way has significant advantages over purely written or paper-based analyses: it enables people to learn about both the music and the technology behind it through interactive sonic experience. The software tools can be used to present musical structures aurally using interactive charts, elements of which can be heard by clicking on them to play relevant audio segments. Charts can also be dynamic, changing to reflect the temporal progression of the work or controlled manually to highlight different features. Sonograms can also be “live” and interactive, allowing readers to manipulate the sound. The tools facilitate the incorporation of (annotated) videos, such as interviews/demonstrations by the composers and/or others involved in the musical or technical production of the work. Our previous analyses have also emulated the techniques composers used so “readers” can play with them, learning about the creative processes not just as abstract theory but through practical engagement with sound. This paper introduces the main elements of TIAALS and shows how it can be used to incorporate many of the features described above into integrated analytical packages. We explain how the tools work and consider the potential, as well as limitations, of the toolbox and the interactive aural approach.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Sound and Music Computing Conference 2023
Subtitle of host publicationSMC 2023
EditorsRoberto Bresin, Kjetil Falkenberg
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9789152773727
ISBN (Print)9789152773727
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2023
Event20th Sound and Music Computing Conference - KMH Royal College of Music, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 15 Jun 202317 Jun 2023
Conference number: 20


Conference20th Sound and Music Computing Conference
Abbreviated titleSMC 2023
Internet address

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