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Demonstrator: Music Collaboratory

From digitised recordings of early twentieth-century musical performance through to new compositions using the latest software techniques, the Grid has unique potential for enhancing our knowledge and experience of music, and our ability to analyse and retrieve it.

Music in its different forms can be processed in many ways, to the great benefit of the community of users engaged in search, analysis, research, composition, and performance. WUNgrid enables a distributed community to collaborate and share both the musical content and the services for processing it.

Grid applications in music are equally as challenging as scientific applications, making particular demands on the collaborative infrastructure. Musical information comes in a rich variety of formats, from score representation through to digital recordings, and these can be converted automatically using Grid services, and thus be available for storage, cataloguing and retrieval using Grid infrastructure.

The processing power of the Grid can also be applied to the computational challenges posed by musical content. For example, algorithms can be used to extract musical features, such as a particular phrase, or sequence of notes, from a digital music archive. These features can then be used to search the archive for similar examples, or to align a recording of a piece of music with its original score in order to track and find a particular point in the recording. Perhaps the most challenging task is transcription, in which computers convert a digital recording back into a musical score. Computationally intensive in their own right, the various algorithms exemplify the sheer volume of digital content which needs to be processed.

Working with live music also presents challenges which demand Grid technologies, for capture, retrieval on demand, real-time analysis or synthesis. Live musical collaboration makes stringent demands on the collaborative services of the Grid, requiring enhanced collaborative infrastructures.

WUNgrid's storage capability, coupled with the latest collaborative technologies and processing techniques, provide a powerful and flexible distributed infrastructure for a spectrum of musical endeavours - a true music collaboratory.

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Last updated 24 January 2005.