The MuNIR project aims at contributing to SSH research in the digital age by serving the search & analysis needs of humanities scholars who work on music notation, musical heritage, and the analysis of musical language as it changes over time. To this end, we plan to conduct a coordinated research program devoted to the search and analysis of music that has been encoded into representative symbolic music format (scores), and to the development of collections and tools to demonstrate the practical impact of our work and to  disseminate our results. The project aims to answer two closely related questions:

  1. Given a very large collection of music scores, how can we organize it to make its access easier and faster? How can we find and communicate the structure and principles of the music language implicitly encoded in its notation? What methodologies and tools can help to make sense of large and complex music scores?
  2. How can we make our research achievements usable by the SSH community in order to leverage their collections of digitized music scores, as well as their studies on music heritage?

To address the first question, we will develop a research activity focused on information retrieval and analysis challenges: This covers structures and algorithms for searching (including by content), extraction of structural or semantic information, and production of high-level descriptors (metadata) that will help to group similar music scores, to classify them according to genre, style or composer, or to discover recurring patterns.

This research endeavour will be completed by a development and dissemination effort to address the second question. Our goal is to design and implement a framework providing a reference architecture for search & analysis platforms on large collections of music scores, along with open source software packages to quickly implement such systems. This will strongly encourage the creation of applications to provide musicologists all over the world with easy access to large collections and interfaces that support sophisticated analytic methods.