Senior Lecturer in Sound Alan Marsden

Specialist areas

  • Musicology
  • Digital Humanities
  • Sound



I am interested in scientific and mathematical approaches to music, not because I think music can be reduced to formulae—I believe it cannot—but because we learn a lot in the attempt. Furthermore, with computer tools, a systematic approach allows us to do interesting musical things. Since July 2004, I have been editor of the leading journal in the area of scientific, systematic and technological research in music, the Journal of New Music Research.

My principal research objective is to develop computational systems which allow us to reach a deeper understanding of how music presents an aural environment which captivates a listener's attention. I am also interested in computational methods which allow us to extract information or test theories on large datasets of music, whether in the form or audio recordings or representations of scores.

Recent projects have been concerned with ways of measuring similarity in music and what it means, with analysis of recordings as a means for investigating musical structure, with computational implementation of Schenkerian analysis, and with formal aspects of representing time in music.

Latest posts:

JSPS BRIDGE Fellowship: Probabilistic Parsing of Music

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 …

06 Jun 2016 in Project

Big Data–Big Theory: Predictive modelling and communities of cultural practice

  1, 22 & 23 March 2016 This series of workshops aims to investigate the potential for Statistical Learning, Information Theory and related approaches to account for meaning in cultural products, going beyond current data-intensive computational research on music, art and literature which concentrates on classification or prediction of consumer behaviour. They …

04 Feb 2016 in Project

Music Analysis by Computer: Ontology and Epistemology

This is the scene-setting first chapter in a recently published collection Computational Music Analysis, edited by David Meredith of the University of Aalborg and published by Springer. The book provides and in-depth overview of current research in computational music analysis, bringing together seventeen chapters by the leading researchers in the field. …

04 Feb 2016 in Book chapter

Audio-Symbolic Music Similarity

ASyMMuS (“An Integrated Audio-Symbolic Model of Music Similarity”) is an AHRC project funded under the Amplification Awards call of the Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities Theme. This project aims to apply the newly developed technological infrastructure from the DML project, to answer the musicological questions of what constitutes …

10 Jun 2015 in Research & Project