Content Visualization in a Digital Music Library
Eric J. Isaacson
Assoc. Prof. of Music Theory
Indiana University School of Music

Importance of Vis. in Music
“Freezes” otherwise ephemeral content by mapping temporal onto a spatial domain
Supports recall, reproduction
Can depict structures/features
Hidden and surface
Large and small scale
Enables communication

Quick History of Western Notation
Origins are >1000 years old (heightened neumes)
Began as memory aid
Rhythmic notation develops ca. 1300
“Modern” music notation reaches present form ca. 1600

Notation as Visualization
Useful for random access
Provides concise guide for how music sounds
Trained musicians can read “structural” features in notation (but only indirectly)

Variations2: Indiana Univ. Digital Music Library
Digital Audio/Video
Scanned score images
Symbolically encoded score files
Software for
Enhanced search for music
Player/viewers for (synchronized) playback
Notation display, editing
Library cataloging
Learning, study, teaching

Potential Visual Search

Content Vis. in Variations2
Primary focus is on user-created, user-manipulated techniques
Driven by curriculum, discipline

Visualization in Variation2
Stage 1: Score images
Bookmarks add minimal visualization

Visualization in Variations2
Stage 2: Timeliner
Diagrams large-scale structure
Initially tied to recording only

Visualization in Variations2
Stage3: Annotation tools
Drawing, text, smart-labels
Designed for showing

Visualization in Variations2
Stage 4: Encoded scores
Display of selected parts
Analytic notation

Other Views (Audio)
Spectrograms (auto)
Self-similarity graphs (auto, with parameters)

Other Views (Symbolic)
Lerdahl & Jackendoff tree diagrams (user)

Other Views
Line graphs
Pitches in Bartók, Music for Strings, Perc. and Celeste, I (Brinkman & Mesiti 1991)

Other Views
Harmonic regions (“keyscape”) in Bach, C Major Prelude (Craig Sapp)

Other Views
Timelines, “pattern repetition”

Slide 17