Musical Knowledge: what can Artificial Intelligence bring to the musician?

Geraint A Wiggins, Alan Smaill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, we introduce the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially as it relates to music and musicology, and discuss an aspect of fundamental importance in its use for both theory and practice: the representation of knowledge, primarily for use on computers, but not necessarily so.

In the musical area, study of Knowledge Representation can yield fruit for both musicians and AI scientists, with music raising some significant questions of a very general importance in AI, and AI techniques being very usefully applicable to many sub-fields of music.

The rest of the chapter is arranged as follows. We begin with a broad characterisation of the field of AI, explaining some important distinctions and stating our position with respect to them. We proceed then to suggest that AI technology can be useful to the musician, and give examples of how this might be so. We then develop the central notion of knowledge representation, and discuss how this is of interest to musicians and workers in AI alike. This leads in to a detailed but informal description of a particular representation system for music on computers, Charm. Finally, we draw conclusions, and suggest possible directions for future work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReadings in Music and Artificial Intelligence
EditorsEduardo Reck Miranda
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9057550946
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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