Vol. 29 Issue 2 Reviews
Fourth MUSICNETWORK Open Workshop

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain; 15-16 September, 2004.

Carley Tanoue
Los Angeles, California, USA

The Fourth MUSICNETWORK Open Workshop was held at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona, Spain, on 15-16 September, 2004. The workshop is funded by the European Commission and was established to help merge music and interactive multimedia. The MUSICNETWORK is a Center of Excellence established for the purpose of bringing composers, cultural institutions, industry, and research institutions together in order to share ideas. The Center draws on the knowledge base of these groups in order to nurture the potentials of marrying multimedia music content with new technologies, tools, products, formats, and models. The workshop was collocated in Barcelona with the MPEG Ad Hoc Group on Symbolic Music Representation, SMR, 14-15 September, and the WEDELMUSIC 2004 International Conference, 13-14 September, 2004.

Over two days, there were 14 paper presentations each allotted 30 minutes, three tutorial sessions each allotted 60 minutes, and the ongoing Symbolic Music Representation discussion co-occurring with the presentations. The workshop attendance was relatively small, consisting of primarily the conference organizers and those presenting. The main advantage of having a modestly-sized group was that the intimate environment was conducive to meeting other attendees and to networking with key players in the development and use of new technologies, tools, products, formats, and models of multimedia music content. The disadvantage of the assembly size stemmed more from reaction than observation; one reaction was disappointment because the limited size could be interpreted either as a general lack of interest in the subject or as a failure to reach a broader audience to generate more interest. But, despite the attendance quantity, the quality of the workshop did not disappoint.

Even though it may appear as if the main focus of the workshop was the Symbolic Music Representation discussion, which in itself is a valuable topic worthy of attention, it is the opinion of this author that the real benefits of the workshop lie in the research and project presentations. The mixed technical levels and the broad range of the topics covered acted as a double-edged sword; there were a limited number of technical papers presented, but the diversity of levels allowed for entertaining “breathers” and demonstrations of real-life examples of what the technical papers are trying to achieve. The broad range of topics covered acted as a brief introduction to current research in a variety of different areas that might not usually be seen together, otherwise. This opens a great opportunity for researchers to expand the scope of their research to incorporate different ideas or even to check that their research is applicable to the needs of the music community. The hospitality of the chairs and hosting University was superlative, making the overall experience an enjoyable one.

The MUSICNETWORK Open Workshop was chaired in an informal style by numerous members, including Paolo Nesi of Department of Systems and Informatics of the University of Florence (DSI), David Crombie of FNB Netherlands, Pierfrancesco Bellini of DSI, Jerome Barthelemy of Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), David Fuschi of Interactive Labs (ILABS) Giunti Publishing Group, Martin Schmucker of Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics (FHG IGD), Francesco Spadoni of RIGEL Engineering, and Bee Ong and Kia Ng of the University of Leeds.

The categories of presentations were, in order of schedule, Music Notation, Analysis, Education, Presence and Multisensor, Distribution, and Performance and Multimedia. The Open Workshop also hosted the EUROPRIX Multimedia Top Talent Award (www.toptalent.europrix.org) in which the winner, Erik Bünger, presented his project “Let Them Sing It For You.” The project is a delightful demonstration of sound art that turns a text message into a concatenated sequence of excerpts from popular song recordings to “sing” each word. The Web-based interface to the system, in which a user can create a message to be emailed to a friend, can be found at www.sr.se/cgi-bin/p1/src/sing/default.asp.

Music Notation
Dr. Hartmut Ring presented CapXML (www.math.uni-siegen.de/ring), a version of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) that uses a notation program called Capella. It rivals the ease of use of MusicXML to represent music notation on the Web. Moreno Andreatta presented OpenMusic (recherche.ircam.fr/equipes/repmus/OpenMusic), a program designed to visually model music and which includes a deterministic method for replicating scales by focusing on the algebraic approach to the formalization and computer-aided representation of musical structure.

Kia Ng presented work on paper digitization and analysis through a process that utilizes two new digital imaging systems recently installed at the University of Leeds Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Research in Music. A back lighting technique is used to apply even lighting behind the paper; by so doing, invisible paper attributes such as watermarks and paper texture can be unveiled and digitally stored. Maurizio Gabrieli presented SCORESIFTER, a graphical and statistical analyzer of scores that takes MIDI from a common notation software score and analyzes its melodic and motivic content. The resulting segmentations, thematic analysis, and linear passages are displayed in tables and graphs.

Jacqueline Castaing presented MUSICDRAW, a teaching tool that allows young children to draw lines within a computer-based program in which the length, angle, and color of each line maps to a given pitch and duration to produce a musical interpretation of the drawing. The goal of MUSICDRAW is to use methods developed in image analysis to locate motives and other patterns. Celia Duffy presented HOTBED (www.hotbed.ac.uk), a collection of sound resources for the preservation of Scottish music through the teaching of music and styles using traditional means that have been digitized, via sound and video recordings, to fit online capabilities.
Oliver Sebastien and Noël Conruyt presented E-Guitare (e-guitare.univ-reunion.fr), an instrumental e-learning project that is as entertaining as it is instructional. A DVD recording of a lesson allows the student to recreate the lesson environment with the teacher by providing different viewing angles, close-ups, a slow motion feature, backwards motion, loops, etc., which the student can utilize until he/she is able to play along with the teacher. Lastly, the HARMOS (www.harmosproject.com) project was presented. It is also an e-content project in which students can learn from masters via video and sound multimedia data.

Presence and Multisensor
Hans Timmermans presented MEDIATE (web.port.ac.uk/mediate/mediate.html), an interactive, multi-sensory, responsive environment designed to stimulate interaction and expression in children with autism through visual, auditory, and tactile means. The project consists of a transportable enclosed room with visual, audio, and tactile elements. These include the “Tune Fork” and the vibrating “Impression Wall,” that sense movement and respond with visual and audio events.

Marcellus Buchheit presented CodeMeter (codemeter.com/us), a Digital Rights Management (DRM) System that was adapted to protect music content against piracy. The CodeMeter architecture is developed by WUBU-SYSTEMS and adopted to different market requirements within the EU project PAIDFAIR. Giovanni Tummarello and Christian Morbidoni presented an overview of the DBin Project which focuses on Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Multimedia Annotation and browsing based on Semantic Web and MPEG-7. The presenters demonstrated their system using a P2P database search for beer.

Performance and Multimedia
Nuno Correia presented a multimedia application with interactive digital animation for music performance which was built in Macromedia Flash and is currently used in live performances. Carley Tanoue presented recent collaborative performance experiments of the Distributed Immersive Performance (imsc.usc.edu/dip) project at the University of Southern California’s Integrated Media Systems Center. Distributed Immersive Performance is a comprehensive framework for the capture, recording, and replay of high-resolution video, audio, and MIDI streams in an interactive environment in which collaborative music performance and user-based experiments help determine the effects of latency in aural response on performers’ satisfaction in creating a tight ensemble and a musical interpretation. High-definition video samples and preliminary results from experiments with the Tosheff Piano Duo were presented along with a preview of future experiments.

More information on the MUSICNETWORK Open Workshop, including papers and PowerPoint presentations, may be found at www.interactivemusicnetwork.org.