OSU Course Info
Ohio State University
School of Music

Music 824: Computer Applications in Music Research

Course Description

Course Description:

The use of computers in music research -- emphasizing the processing of musical information using the Humdrum Toolkit.

Detailed Description:

This 5-credit hour [1] course will be of interest to students wishing to develop or enhance their research skills in music. The course is suitable for students interested in any area of systematic music research -- including historical research, music analysis, ethnomusicology, music education, and music perception and cognition. The course may also be of interest to students in linguistics, dance, psychology and library or information sciences.

The emphasis in this course is on developing practical expertise in using computers for music research. The course focuses predominantly on the Humdrum Toolkit. Humdrum provides tools for extracting, transforming, linking, classifying, contextualizing, comparing, and analysing music-related information. Data might be musical scores, piano fingerings, lute tablatures, phonetic representations of lyrics, ethnomusicological symbols, psychological measures, dance notations (such as Laban or Benesh), or user-defined information. The Humdrum pattern recognition and similarity tools will also be covered.

In addition, the course will briefly introduce other research-related software, principally Sharp-eye software for scanning musical notation. Note that roughly 90% of the course will focus on the Humdrum Toolkit.


The course has no formal pre-requisites. Some prior experience with computers is essential. Some knowledge of the UNIX operating system is an asset, but not a requirement for this course. Students with some previous programming experience will find the course easier.

Meeting Times:

The class will meet three days per week. Classes have a duration of 48 minutes. Classes are held in Hughes Hall Rm 111 on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio.

Registration Number:

The registration call number for the Fall 2008 offering of this course is 15222-1.

Course Objectives:

The course objectives include the following:


The course objectives are pursued through weekly readings and assignments, lecture/demonstrations, and extensive computer interaction.


Huron, D. Music Research Using Humdrum: A User's Guide. Stanford, CA: Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities, 1999; 414pp.


The workload for Music 824 entails three hours of lecture/demonstrations each week, plus approximately seven hours of additional work per week. Out-of-class workload consists of roughly three hours of reading (roughly 35 pages) plus four hours of computer interaction per week.

Method of Evaluation:

The final course grade will be based on the following:

Weekly Assignments (6 × 10%)60%
Essay Assignment15%
Final test25%

The purpose of the weekly assignments is to help student develop practical skills and facility in computer-based research scripting. The questions in the assignments cover a wide variety of concrete tasks. The purpose the essay assignment is to encourage students to develop ideas about possible research projects. The purpose of the final test is to ensure that students consolidate their skills.

Given the potential for disparate backgrounds, students' prior background is a factor in evaluation.


Dr. David Huron
Mershon Auditorium, Room 502
Telephone: (614) 688-4753 (Wk.)
E-mail: hüron.1@osü.edü [Ignore the umlauts; they are present to foil web crawlers.]

Meeting with the Instructor:

Students are encouraged to arrange to discuss any aspect of their course work. No appointments are necessary, however meeting times can be assured by telephoning Prof. Huron to make an appointment. If you are unable to reach the instructor by telephone, remember to leave a message giving your name and telephone number.

Academic Misconduct:

It is the responsibility of the Committee on Academic Misconduct to investigate or establish procedures for the investigation of all reported cases of student academic misconduct. The term "academic misconduct" includes all forms of student academic misconduct wherever committed; illustrated by, but not limited to, cases of plagiarism and dishonest practices in connection with examinations. Instructors shall report all instances of alleged academic misconduct to the committee (Faculty Rule 3335-5-487). For additional information, see the Code of Student Conduct (http://studentaffairs.osu.edu/info_for_students/csc.asp).

Disability Services:

Students with disabilities who have been certified by the Office for Disability Services will be approriately accommodated, and should inform the instructor as soon as ossible of their needs. The Office for Disability Services is located in 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Avenue; telephone 292-3307, TDD 292-0901, http://www.ods.ohio-state.edu/.

[1] Music 824 can also be arranged as a 3 credit-hour reading course. In this case, no final test will be required.

This document is available at http://csml.som.ohio-state.edu/Music824/descript.html