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Understanding How the Brain Processes Music Through the Bach Trio Sonatas

Bach Poster Bach Poster
Presenters include Daniel Forger, professor of mathematics and computational medicine and bioinformatics; James Kibbie, professor of music and chair of the U-M Organ Department, University Organist; Caleb Mayer, graduate student research assistant (mathematics); and Sarah Simko, graduate student research assistant (organ performance).

With support from the Data Science for Music Challenge Initiative through MIDAS, the team is taking a big data approach to understanding the patterns and principles of music. The project is developing and analyzing a library of digitized performances of the Trio Sonatas for organ by Johann Sebastian Bach, applying novel algorithms to study the music structure from a data science perspective. Organ students from SMTD will demonstrate how the Frieze Memorial Organ in Hill Auditorium is used to create big data files of live performances. The team will discuss how its analysis compares different performances to determine features that make performances artistic, as well as the common mistakes performers make. The digitized performances will be shared with researchers and will enable research and pedagogy in many disciplines, including data science, music performance, mathematics, and music psychology.

Co-sponsored by MIDAS,
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Event Type


  • Free - no tickets required

When and Where

Map Hill Auditorium

April 2019


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