Meet My lab: 'Mathematics and Music - A Synergetic Duo for Automatic Music Generation'

Topics: Events

Tags: Meet My Lab | AI | Music | EURAXESS ASEAN

    14/05/2021 - 16:00
    Singapore, Singapore
    14/05/2021 - 17:30

EURAXESS ASEAN presents ‘Meet my Lab’ - a virtual meeting point for researchers in ASEAN and across the world to learn from, to connect & to collaborate with each other.


"Mathematics and Music - A Synergetic Duo for Automatic Music Generation"

Prof Elaine Chew, CNRS, France and Prof Dorien Herremans, SUTD, Singapore

14 June 2021 at 4.00PM Singapore time / 10.00 AM CEST





In its more than 60 year history, music generation systems have never been more popular than today. In this talk, Prof. Dorien Herremans will give a brief history of the unique field of algorithmic composition. While there are a number of systems out there, two main challenges remain: how do we integrate emotion as well as ensure long term structure in musical pieces. It should come at no surprise that music and emotion are intrinsically connected. Yet, computer systems still struggle to truly capture emotion. Secondly, while many systems can compose short fragments that sound well, the real challenge is to create complete, longer pieces of music with patterns and themes. The MorpheuS system, a hybrid machine learning system developed by Prof. Dorien during her MSCA fellowship with Prof. Elaine Chew, tackles these two challenges. In this talk we will dive into the inner workings of MorpheuS, as well as listen to a number of generated fragments performed by Prof. Elaine Chew. Finally, we will discuss some recent advances in the field and what respective labs are currently working on.

What is this?

‘Meet my Lab’ is a virtual meeting point profiling researchers and their work. The presenters will share their research work and present opportunities for collaboration. The focus is on interactivity - audience members can ask questions and engage with the presenter(s) and with each other.

Who can participate?

Meet my Lab’ is explicitly open to the world! We welcome researchers at all career stages and of all nationalities.

Participants should have an interest in international research collaboration!

Participation is free of charge. Seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis.



Short synopsis of respective work and collaborative work

Dorien Herremans' recent work has focused on creating controllable music generation systems using deep learning technologies. One challenge in particular - generating music with steerable emotion - has been central in her research. When it comes to affect and emotion, computer models still do not compare to humans. Using affective computing techniques and deep learning, Dorien's team has built models that learn to predict perceived emotion from music. These models are then used to generate new fragments in a controllable manner, so that users can steer the desired arousal/valence level or tension in newly generated music. Other challenges tackled by Dorien's team include ensuring repeated themes in music, automatic music transcription, and novel music representations.

Elaine Chew is known for inventing the spiral array model, a geometric representation for tonality. Her research focuses on the mathematical and computational modelling of musical structures in music, with special interest in expressive performance, and electrocardiographic sequences. Applications include modelling of music performance, AI music generation, music-heart-brain interactions, and computational arrhythmia research. She is author of numerous academic publications and centre of one of 9 publication clusters having ≥5 women in the international Music Information Retrieval community (ISMIR 2016 infometric study). As a pianist, she integrates her research into concert-conversations that showcase scientific visualisations and lab-grown compositions.

Together, Herremans and Chew worked on the MorpheuS automatic music composition system. To guide MorpheuS' music generation, they designed and implemented a harmonic tension model based on the spiral array. The system learns rhythms and harmonic tension profiles from a template piece to generate music with long term structure. MorpheuS' creations have been featured on Channel News Asia's television program on "Algorithms: Part 1 - Rage Against The Machine", where it was pitted against a human composer and had its output (based on the first of Three Pieces for String Quartet by Stravinsky) performed by members of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Chew has also performed MorpheuS pieces at concerts in venues in Cambridge (MA), London, San Francisco, and Stanford.


Dorien Herremans

Dorien Herremans is an Assistant Professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design, where she is also Director of Game Lab. Before joining SUTD, she was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London, where she worked on the project: ``MorpheuS: Hybrid Machine Learning – Optimization techniques To Generate Structured Music Through Morphing And Fusion''. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Economics, and graduated as a Business Engineer in management information systems at the University of Antwerp in 2005. After that, she worked as a consultant and was an IT lecturer at the Les Roches University in Bluche, Switzerland. Dr. Herremans' research interests include AI for novel applications such as music and audio.


Elaine Chew

Operations researcher and pianist, Elaine Chew, is a senior CNRS researcher in the STMS Lab at IRCAM and a Visiting Professor of Engineering at King's College London. She is principal investigator of the ERC ADG project COSMOS and POC project HEART.FM. Her work has been recognised by PECASE and NSF CAREER awards, and Fellowships at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is an alum (Fellow) of the NAS Kavli and NAE Frontiers of Science/Engineering Symposia. She received PhD and SM degrees in Operations Research at MIT, a BAS in Mathematical & Computational Sciences (honors) and Music (distinction) at Stanford, and FTCL and LTCL diplomas in Piano Performance from Trinity College, London. She was Professor of Digital Media at QMUL (2011-2019), Assistant then tenured Associate Professor at USC (2001-2011) where she held the inaugural Viterbi Early Career Chair, and was Visiting Professor at Harvard (2008-2009) and Lehigh (2000-2001).



Lonce WYSE


Lonce Wyse is Associate Professor at the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore. Following his PhD in 1993 on visual and auditory neural networks, Dr Wyse was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship at Taiwan National University to study perceptual models of sound and music. Dr Wyse teaches in the area of interactive media design, theory, and analysis in the Department Communications and New Media at NUS. He holds joint appointments with the Interactive and Digital Media Institute where he direct the Arts and Creativity Lab, and with the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering. Dr Wyse serves on the editorial boards of Computer Music Journal (MIT Press), Organized Sound (Cambridge University Press), and the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media. His current research focus is on live collaborative and distributed musical communication, and deep learning neural network models for sound design. His research interests are in theoretical and computational techniques for the creation and analysis of interactive media, particularly sonic arts.