Personal tools

The Science and Technology of Music


Research Project: Recognition of distorted melodies

Back to Research Field: Music Perception and Cognition

Recognition of distorted melodies

  Research Project Information
Runtime: Sep 03, 2010 until Dec 29, 2020
Project coordination: Catherine Guastavino; Daniel Levitin

The premise of this research is that melodies are auditory objects that retain their identities in spite of transformations along several perceptual dimensions, including pitch, loudness, tempo, and even interval and rhythmic structure. Simply put, when people recall or recognize their favorite songs, there exists a wide variation in what they consider to be the song. A failure to recognize this "cognitive plasticity" in the underlying representation of a song can hinder efforts at music indexing, retrieval, and recommendation. This research seeks to understand more about the limits of such transformations, to establish psychophysical indices of recognizability under transformation, and to assess changes (ifany) to the emotional interpretation of transformed songs. The project is basic science, with clear applications to real-world problems in music informatics. The results of this can ultimately lead to better music recommendations based on better perceptual models.