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DigiCULT
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ation of HiFi systems offering novel ways
of searching content, interacting with the
musical material, and visualising and per-
sonalising the musical data.
T
he cultural and educational challenge
specific to IRCAM-created music is
vital: analysing it allows users to explore
issues of listening and composition that are
common to almost all kinds of music. It
allows for the comprehension of most of
the musical objects as complex temporal
entities.The listening tools which will be
developed in this context will thus open
up new ways of accessing learned music, as
well as learned access to `simpler' music.
content by accessing proposed ways of lis-
tening (by means of Signed Listenings pro-
vided by specialists) and by appropriating
the content, and thus formalising his or her
own listening on top of, or in parallel
with, the one proposed by the editor.
NEW LISTENING TOOLS FOR AUDIO AND
MUSICAL ARCHIVES
M
usic, and particularly contemporary
music, raises acute and essential
questions about the temporal object in the
digital era ­ its exploration, annotation and
restitution in all of its synthetic complexity,
by individual users with singular modes of
approach.The coordinated musicological,
scientific and technological research pro-
grammes at IRCAM aim first at addressing
them specifically, and then produce nor-
malised and generic access tools for the lis-
tener, for whom the archive is a multiple-
entry object, which can be interpreted in
different, even contradictory, ways.
T
o allow for these entry modes by
means of open and usable listening
tools, IRCAM is about to coordinate the
Semantic HIFI project.
27
The goal of this
project is the development of a new gener-
T
hese experiments (using various tech-
nical set-ups including Web plug-ins,
DVD and installations) will allow us to
determine both the generic and specific
components of such a system, the former
laying the ground for a possible access tool
for all types of (musical) collections, the
latter for specific corpora. For example,
annotating a scanned score synchronised
with a recording is generic to any corpus
of music pieces that have both a score and
a digitised recording (Figure 4 shows such
a mock-up done at IRCAM for the
MUSICWEB
25
European project). On the
other hand, manual transcription of an
electronic or repetitive music loop, with
or without filtering the spectrum so as
to reveal hierarchical rhythmic patterns,
is specific.
TOWARD A NEW CONCEPT OF
MULTIMEDIA TEMPORAL OBJECTS
P
roviding simultaneous access to con-
tent and to tools as a systematic
process in this project is a necessity, in par-
ticular as IRCAM is a place for artistic
creation and production of complex tem-
poral objects.This is especially true of
works belonging to the family of the new
music of the second half of the twentieth
century which mixes score and software,
for which the modes of listening are rarely
if ever codified and the analysis tools
underdeveloped. As well as the general
issues of access (e.g. indexation, navigation)
to temporal objects there also arise ques-
tions of more or less local, more or less
singular characteristics (modes of annota-
tion, musical structures and so on) specific
to learned Western music.This is why
IRCAM is working on a new concept of a
Web Radio (see Figure 4) closely related
26
to the Signed Listening project.The main
stream (structured like a traditional radio
programme, hence the name) provides per-
tinent access to digitised content.The
`auditor' will thus be able to explore the
Figure 4. Mock-up of Web Radio (example of a program about Edgard Varèse's Déserts.The main
stream alternates interviews and musical excerpts (represented by the two colors). It allows the lis-
tener to access the full source documents used by the producer (here, an excerpt of Le Sacred du
Printemps provides access to the full recording, represented by a longer horizontal bar below).The
listener-spectator can thus navigate between a main stream and stored streams. In addition, he can
appropriate himself any stream by annotating it; here, four lines of annotations mark excerpts from
the program for different reasons (favourites, important citations, thematic indexation...).
A view of the Multimedia Library, as seen in
its virtual 3D interface (http://mediatheque.
ircam.fr/infos/vrml/index-e.html)
24 These are not necessarily functional objects, but models of what a finalised tool should look like after adequate
development, allowing experts to test their ideas visually and aurally in a collaborative way.
25 New communication and information technologies in the music classroom, coordinated by the AEC (Association
Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen).
26 Publication in the Web radio is done through a scenarisation file, which is an XML description (some existing
standards are tested for this representation) of the sequencing of the various media and excerpts.The Signed
Listenings can be seen then as either associated media or main stream.
27 In collaboration with Sony, the Fraunhofer Institute, Native Instruments, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona,
Spain) and Ben Gurion University (Israel).
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© IRCAM 2003
© IRCAM 2003