2016 - David Temperley


10. Mai 2016
Gastvortrag mit David Temperley (Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester)

16.00–17.30 Uhr, Reiterkaserne, Performancesaal

Gastvortrag: Information Flow in Music
Describing the music of Palestrina, the musicologist Knud Jeppesen wrote: “It avoids strong, unduly sharp accents and extreme contrast of every kind and expresses itself always in a characteristically smooth and pleasing manner.” What is it that makes Palestrina’s music seem “smooth”? I will argue that Jeppesen in this quote is recognizing an important principle that applies not only to Palestrina but also to many other musical styles: the principle of Uniform Information Density (UID). Information, in the mathematical sense, is inversely related to probability: Events that are low in probability are high in information. The principle of UID, which was first observed in research on language, states that communication is optimal when information flows at a fairly uniform, moderate, rate. Applied to music, the UID principle suggests that high-information (low-probability) events should be lengthened and spaced out in time, and that events that are low-probability in one respect should be high-probability in other respects. I will discuss applications of the UID principle in several diverse areas of music: rules of Renaissance counterpoint, the construction of classical themes, and patterns of expressive performance.

David Temperley is a music theorist, cognitive scientist, and composer. He received his PhD in music theory from Columbia University, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Ohio State University. Since 2000, he has been professor of music theory at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, USA. Temperley’s primary research area is computational modeling of music cognition; he has explored issues such as meter perception, key perception, harmonic analysis, stream segregation, and transcription. His first book, _The Cognition of Basic Musical Structures_ (MIT, 2001) won the Society for Music Theory's Emerging Scholar Award; his second book, _Music and Probability_ (MIT, 2007) explores computational music cognition from a probabilistic perspective. Other research has focused on harmony in rock, rhythm in traditional African music, and hypermeter in common-practice music. Recent projects include a corpus study of harmony and melody in rock, and an experimental study of the emotional connotations of diatonic modes. Temperley has also worked on a variety of linguistic issues, including parsing, syntactic choice, and linguistic rhythm; he is co-inventor of the Link Grammar Parser, a widely used syntactic parser of English. You can hear Temperley’s compositions and learn more about his research at davidtemperley.com.