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CIRMMT Distinguished Lecture with Eleanor Selfridge-Field

April 26 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

| Free

Eleanor Selfridge-Field will discuss 'Ear, mind, or brain? Reflections on musical similarity'

When & where
Thursday April 26, 2018 @ 4:30pm
Tanna Schulich Hall, Elizabeth Wirth Music Building,
527 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal

Free admission


Discussions of musical similarity—what it is and how it can be assessed—run rampant in the real world as well as the academic one. Efforts to define musical similarity have roved over several disciplines, as the pertinence of the question surfaces at will in diverse quarters. The quest for a simple method of assessing musical similarity has been pursued in both the academic and the commercial worlds but with highly diverse methods and with little success. In our own research into the development of digital tools for musical evaluation and query, we have recurrently encountered two problems. Either the “matches” are too numerous to be useful or they offer a promising statistical result that not convincing to listeners. Are we failing to formulate the right questions? Or are we misinterpreting the machine-driven answers?

[Photo credit: Brent A. Field]


Eleanor Selfridge-Field, director of the Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities (an affiliate of the Packard Humanities Institute) at Stanford University, has published extensively in music history, digital musicology, and other disciplines. She currently serves as an editor for digital musicology for Frontiers in Digital Humanities, as a board member of the Music Encoding Initiative, and as an adjunct professor of musical informatics at Stanford University.

Her best known books are Venetian Instrumental Music from Gabrieli to Vivaldi (3rd edn., 1994), Beyond MIDI: The Handbook of Musical Codes (1997), and Song and Season: Science, Culture, and Theatrical Time (2007). She served as editor of the series Computing in Musicology for fifteen years. A winner of the Modern Language Association book prize in 2008 for A New Chronology of Venetian Opera (2007), she has been the recipient of numerous travel grants and has served on many grant panels in the US and Europe. She holds a D.Phil. from Oxford University and other degrees from Columbia and Drew Universities.

CIRMMT is a multi-disciplinary research group centred at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. It unites researchers and their students from several Quebec institutions - McGill University, l’Université de Montréal, l’Université de Sherbrooke Concordia University, Ecole de technologie supérieure, INRS and Marianopolis College. The CIRMMT community also includes administrative and technical staff, research associates, visiting scholars, musicians, and industrial associates. CIRMMT occupies a unique position on the international stage having developed intense research partnerships with other academic and research institutions, as well as diverse industry partners throughout the world.

The CIRMMT community is interested in interdisciplinary research related to the creation of music in the composer's or performer's mind, the performance of music, its recording and/or transmission, and the reception of music by the listener. It is also interested in the ways in which vision, haptics and touch interact with music and sound. CIRMMT seeks to develop innovative approaches to the scientific study of music media and technology, to promote the application of newer technologies in science and the creative arts, and to provide an advanced research training environment.


April 26
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Tanna Schulich Hall, Elizabeth Wirth Music Building
527 Sherbrooke St. W.
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E3 Canada