Music 254/CS 275b Spring 2017 Syllabus

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Music 254/CS 275b "Music Query, Analysis, and Style Simulation"
Stanford University (Spring 2017).

This music information retrieval course builds on the foundation of Music 253/CS 275A. Using an open-source analysis platform (such as the Humdrum Toolkit (unix/bash shell), Humdrum Extras (C++), or Music21 (Python), or their preferred programming language/environment) students plan and design their own applications involving symbolic musical data.

The first four weeks cover basic areas of music analysis and retrieval and introduce basic principles of using the Humdrum Toolkit. Students may be assigned individual reading assignments pertinent to their research topic areas. The remaining six weeks are spent on individual project development, with weekly reports and discussions. Extensive help is available in the lab during hours allotted to class time. Students give verbal and written reports on their research at the end of the quarter. Some projects may be appropriate for continuation in independent-study modules.

Meeting times: Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:30–2:50
Location: Braun Music Building, Rooms 131 (lectures), 128 (lab entry from Room 129)
Instructors: Eleanor Selfridge-Field (
Mauricio Rodriguez (
Office Hours: 3:05–4:05 Wednesdays and by appointment.
Credits: 2–4

25% class participation, 75% project

  • Project proposal: 3 pages, due Tues. 11 April 2017
  • Project presentation, 20–30 minutes, Thurs. 1 June 2017.
  • Project writeup draft: 5+ pages, Thurs. 2 June 2017
  • Project writeup: 10–20 pages, Thurs. 9 June 2017
Website: 254 Overview of topics presented in Music 254.
Prerequisites: Completion of Music 253/CS 275b, or demonstrated ability to use notation and sound software and associated requirements.
Textbook: E. Selfridge-Field, ed., Beyond MIDI: The Handbook of Musical Codes (MIT Press, 1997). Available online by permission of the publisher.

1 Syllabus

Go to week: Harmony 1 | Melody 2 | Rhythm 3 | Harmony 4 | RegEx 5 | Programming 6 | 7 | 8

See also Music 253/CS 275a Syllabus

Week Dates Topics
4, 6 April 2017

Harmony I

  • Harmony Tools I in Humdrum (PDF slides)
    • Harmony tools:
      • hint: Harmonic intervals.
      • tntype: twelve-tone chord prototypes.
      • key: Krumhansl-Schmuckler key-finding algorithm.
      • keycor: generalization of key command.
      • sonority: triadic chord descriptions of sonorities.
    • Support tools:
      • assemble: merge separate spines into single data stream.
      • serialize: convert Humdrum data into single spine.
      • humcat : concatenate multiple scores together (download data from web).
      • ridx: remove various components of Humdrum file structure
      • ditto: resolve meaning of null tokens.
      • humsplit: split segmented Humdrum file streams into separate files.
    • Unix tools:
11 & 13 Apr 2017


18 Apr 2017


3 20 Apr 2017

Data/Data entry

  • Data/Data entry in Humdrum (PDF slides)
    • KernScores: digital library of scores in the **kern format
      • [1] introduction to KernScores
      • [2] shortcuts to data in KernScores
      • [3] browse collections in KernScores
    • [4]: Josquin Research Project: digital library of early Renaissance polyphony
    • xml2hum: MusicXML to Humdrum converter
    • mid2hum: MIDI to Humdrum converter (works in many cases, but better to convert MIDI first to MusicXML then import).
25 Apr 2017

Harmony II

4 27 Apr 2017

Harmonic Models

Humdrum & MIDI

2 May 2017

Regular Expressions

5 4 May 2017

Style synthesis

9 May 2017

Meter and Form

Programming for Humdrum files

6 11 May 2017

Inner metric analysis and generative approaches

Sonority distributions by bass-line scale degrees

7 16 May 2017


7 18 May 2017

Musical Style

8 23 May 2017

Project development

No class meeting

8 25 May 2017

Project development

9 30 May, 2 June 2017



  • MEI (Music Encoding Initiative) Release 2.0
10 8 June 2017

Project presentations

2 General Policies and University Rules

General policies and university rules:

  1. Delivery times:
    1. Assignments: by the start of the class for which they are due.
    2. Writeup: by 11 p.m. 8 June 2017.
  2. Honor code: We will act and expect you to act according to the Stanford Honor Code.
  3. Students with disabilities: Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) located within the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). SDRC staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the request is being made. Students should contact the SDRC as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone 723-1066).