JSPS BRIDGE Fellowship: Probabilistic Parsing of Music

Photo of Mount Fuji, copyright Alan Marsden

Alan Marsden has been awarded a BRIDGE Fellowship by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to conduct research in Japan with hosts at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) near Kanazawa, Kyoto University, and Future University Hakodate. This is a follow-up to his visit in 2012. He will continue work with Japanese researchers on musical grammars, concentrating this time on probabilistic parsing. Previous research has shown how grammatical structure can contribute to similarity in music, and how grammar can predict the segmentation of a melody into phrases. The objective of this visit is better ways of understanding ambiguity, such as where the same segment of music can function both as an ending and a beginning, and how ambiguity is resolved.

While in Japan, Alan Marsden will also be giving a paper ‘Music theory as scientific theory’ and contributing to a panel discussion on digital musicology at the quinquennial congress of the International Musicological Society, being held in 2017 in Tokyo, whose theme is ‘Musicology: Theory and Practice, East and West’.