Music Information Retrieval based data Infrastructure for Ethnographic Sound Recordings Archives
Based on original research performed over the course of the past decade at the Institute of Musicology, University of Hamburg, a content-based database infrastructure scheme for digitized historic ethnographic recordings is to be developed, build around data extraction functions employing signal processing operators guided by specialized heuristics.The project proposed thus addresses a central requirement of Music Archiving, Systematic Musicology, and Ethnomusicology, namely providing computerized access to large repositories of digital audio data in a contextually and semantically integrated way to allow for conclusive collation of audio data within a given database, as well as between similar databases, by employing a common and consistent set of parameters derived directly from the audio signal. This constitutes foundational research with numerous possibilities for practical implementation in a wide range of applications dealing with the preservation and the scientific study of recorded music and sound.This MIR-based classification scheme is further to be implemented in the process of systematic categorization of digital copies of the extensive collection of historic ethnographic recordings in the institute's possession. A dedicated digital database, the University of Hamburg Ethnographic Sound Recordings Archive (ESRA) , is currently being populated with such data, thus providing an ideal development and testing environment for the practical implementation of the central claims of the project proposed herein.Besides the particular technical difficulties faced by archives of non-European music, as described below, these archives in particular carry an exceptional moral and ethical responsibility: they constitute the musical memory of the world. Many orally transmitted musical traditions are rapidly fading away under the influences of global cultural change, others have long become extinct; all that is left of them are the historic recordings hidden in the shelves of ethnomusicological archives. It is an urgent mandate to the scientific community to digitally preserve, and to provide adequate access to, at least these faint traces of what were once living musical cultures, lest they sink into oblivion as the original recording media physically disintegrate, becoming lost forever.
- Duration: 2017–2020
- Project lead: Prof. Dr. Rolf Bader
- Sponsor: Deutsch Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)