Music Informatics

Music is more than art—it’s data.

Technology has dramatically expanded how we teach, compose, listen to, and perform music. Music informatics explores the many new applications whose study requires only the willingness to view music as data, whether in audio, graphical, performance, or symbolic form. Our field is inherently interdisciplinary, making connections with computer science, cognitive science, math, and psychology. Here, you will have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Music search—accessing digital music libraries through sound (for instance, query by humming)
  • Synthesizing a convincingly expressive musical performance without live performers
  • Audio signal-to-score—creating a musical score from a performance, similar to speech recognition software
  • Music analysis, including computer-assisted analysis of harmony, pitch, phrase structure, expressive performance, and voice leading
  • Accompaniment systems that provide expressive supporting music and can adapt to variations in a soloist’s live performance
  • Score following, including synchronized animation and automatic page turning
  • Music source separation, as in the creation of karaoke backing tracks
  • Optical music recognition, the translation of handwritten or typeset musical scores into symbolic music representation
  • Music composition for computer games, where the musical score can change dynamically in response to the player’s actions

IU offers a particularly rich environment for music informatics. Our connections with the world-renowned Jacobs School of Music and the William and Gayle Cook Music Library—which houses the Variations digital music library project—as well as our Bosendorfer reproducing piano, create a unique place to study music science.

Students have the opportunity to study alongside genuine pioneers in the fields of digital musical notation, music theory, and digital accompaniment. Find out more about our faculty and student research projects.

Music informatics track of the Ph.D. in Informatics

A research-based degree with a strong interdisciplinary focus