Research Projects

This page has information about some of my research projects. You can also read about all of these projects (and others) in my papers.

The Musical Language of Rock (Oxford University Press, 2018). A theoretical-analytical study of rock music, exploring topics such as key/scale, harmony, rhythm/meter, melody, timbre/instrumentation and form.

Music and Probability (MIT Press, 2007). A book exploring issues in music perception and cognition from the perspective of Bayesian probabilistic modeling. At this website you can listen to musical examples and download materials related to the book.

The Melisma Music Analyzer.[Version 1] [Version 2] A computational system for music analysis. It recovers meter, harmony, key, and stream structure from pieces, using MIDI files as input. Version 1 (2000-2003, written in collaboration with Daniel Sleator) is a set of separate modules. Version 2 (2009) is a single integrated program that uses probabilistic logic.

The Cognition of Basic Musical Structures (MIT Press, 2001). A book describing research on computational music analysis. At this website you can listen to midifiles of the musical examples from the book.

Link Grammar Parser. A wide-coverage parser of English, based on an original theory of English syntax. The parser can be tested at this site, and can also be downloaded.

Musical Corpus Analysis. I have worked on several musical corpus projects:
A corpus of harmonic analyses and melodic transcriptions of rock songs, in collaboration with Trevor de Clercq
A corpus of melodic transcriptions of American popular songs, 1900-1999, in collaboration with Joseph VenderStel
A corpus analysis of common-practice harmony, based on a small body of data from a harmony textbook

A Visual Representation of the English Language. [PowerPoint or PDF] This diagram shows a way of visually representing syntactic probabilities in language. (It should be viewed on a large screen with high magnification, e.g. 200%. The PowerPoint looks a bit better than the PDF.) The logic of the diagram is explained in the explanatory text along the bottom. Feel free to use this for any purpose. If you would like a full-size poster of the diagram, contact me.

Syntactic Repetition. An article on the role of discourse in syntactic repetition appears in the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics (2023); materials related to that study can be downloaded here.

The Hymn Tune Index. This is not my project, but rather, my father’s—Nicholas Temperley, who passed away in 2020. Nicholas gave me permission to make a simplified version of the database available, and I do so here.