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2016 - BAEF

In 2016, I could perform a postdoctoral research at the Indiana University in the USA. The grant was awarded by the BAEF, Belgian American Educational Foundation, for executing a research position at an American University. I was hosted by the IDAH, the Digital Humanities group of Indiana University in Bloomington.

My project aimed at analyzing and studying parts of the prestigious sound archives of the Indiana University. The Archives of Traditional Music include more than 100.000 recordings. My main focus went mainly to the oldest recordings, from the beginning of the 20th century. It was very interesting to see how scales were used in these recordings that are the oldest gatekeepers of our ethnomusicological past.

The second aspect of my scholarship was to get acquainted with the sociological and anthropological point of view in American ethnomusicology. I took Master classes at the dep. of Ethnomusicology, under guidance of Prof. Ruth Stone. I also had good contacts with the music department of the University, the Jacob School of Music. I could lecture for the student composition class.

IDAH, Digital Humanities - Olmo's page

2015 - IPEM, Ghent University

In 2015, I was involved in the digitization project of the IPEM sound archive of Electronic Music. More than 1000 tapes, containing more than 3000 electronic compositions have been digitized.
The main body of the archive has been established in the period 1963-1987. In this period the IPEM functioned as a collaboration between the University and the Flemish Radio (the former BRT, now VRT). Artistic creativity and scientific research was combined in one and the same institute. All the musical productions realized in the studio for electronacoustic music of the IPEM are stored in the archive, together with concert recordings (many of them from the series of 'IPEM-concerts' with contemporary music), and recordings of other contemporary music, collected for musicological study.
The project was executed together with VIAA, a Flemish institute that aims at digitizing cultural heritage of flanders.

2008-2014 - Theoretic and artistic research studying opportunities of symbiosis of Western and non-Western musical idiom

(Theoretisch en artistiek onderzoek naar de symbiose van Westerse en niet-Westerse muzikale idiomen)
Promotor: Ghent University: Prof. Dr. Marc Leman
University College Ghent: Lucien Posman

Phd in Arts, including artistic production and scientific research, at University College Ghent (Conservatorium Gent) and Ghent University.

Traditionally ethnomusicology has been using Western musical concepts and terminology to determine and describe characteristics and parameters of ethnic music. However most of these studies were aware of the specific differences between ethnic and Western music, only few succeeded in developing techniques that could allocate and annotate these specific characteristics. Challenge of this PhD was a reinterpretation and or adaptation of the Western musical idiom in order to describe traditional ethnic music in a context of lesser Western cultural impact. More specific African music was studied with MIR (Music Information Retrieval) tools to obtain more and detailed descriptions of its musical characteristics, steering the traditional Western musical concepts and definitions towards a proper music theory for African and other ethnic music. The results of studying ethnic music such way, could also open up new opportunities for composers and musicians in using timbres, scales, instruments, vocal techniques that are not common in our Western cultural society and that are provided with a better description.

In my scientific research I analysed ethnic music (in this case African music) with MIR-techniques in order to describe the specificities of ethnic music, disconnected from fixed Western musical concepts.

The artistic part of the research focused on music composition. In an experimental context the compositions relate to the scientific research, where these approaches will have constant mutual interference, in comparing results of both approaches and in opposing top-down and bottom-up methodology of composing.

Additional aspect is the use of new technologies for music creation/production: i.c. wireless accelerometers that create the possibility for performers to transfer their movements registered into sound and music. For example altering (ethnic) music samples with sound effects, filters and also digital created sound by moving the sensors. These sensors allow people to move in an ecological environment with their specific behaviour, and even with influence of social interactions.

The proposed research exists of plural disciplines: Music Information Retrieval, Ethnomusicology, Composition, Music Production, Hardware implementation, Digitalization.

2003-2007 DEKKMMA-Project, Ghent University

The DEKKMMA-project is a digitalisation project supported by Wetenschapsbeleid. It is a co-operation between the University of Ghent and the RMCA (Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren). The first objective of the DEKKMMA-project is the conservation of the unique sound archive of the Royal Museum. All sound recordings will be digitized optimally, as well as all enclosed data, so the archive stays preserved and is made easilier available (by internet) grace to developed database facilities.
Innovative is the aspect of flexible querying of and the audio-mining research on non-European music. With developed software new musical information will be achieved; such as pitch, scales, rhythmic patterns... This content meta-data will enrich the context-data and will enlarge the retrieval possibilities and thus interest of researchers of African music.

The official website of the DEKKMMA-project

This research has been supported by: Wetenschapsbeleid

2008 POFADEAM-Project, Ghent University

The project aims to spread the cultural heritage of the European ethnic music stored in analogue audio documents. Objectives of this project are:
To elaborate a general methodology for the preservation and restoration of the different typologies of audio documents of ethnic music
The project is coordinated by the University of Udine (UNIUD) and has the following partners:

This research has been supported by: European Commission, Culture 2000

2008 GOASEMA-Project, Ghent University

This project aims at developing a perception-based musical content analysis theory, and at validating this theory in the representative application domains of audio-mining, interactive multimedia, and brain research. The theory will be instrumental in that it relies on computational tools that link musical content descriptions with the sound wave of that music. The efficacy of this theory will be tested in an elaborate set of tools for content description. Thus far, little attention has been devoted to qualitative descriptors that relate to the user's sensitive, emotional and expressive experiences with musical audio. Although the literature on subjective descriptors is large, very few studies have related these descriptors with audio signals and/or with motoric gestural behavior. Despite the fact that the relationship between content description (both objective and subjective) and the musical signal is not very straightforward, and that the semantics (i.e. the framework of inter-related concepts) of perceived musical qualities is rather vague, there is an urgent need to develop tools for dealing with this type of musical content in relation to audio. In this context, there is a serious lack of annotated databases that allow the development of bottom-up data-driven automated tools for musical content extraction and there is furthermore a serious lack of understanding of how objective/syntactical cues are related to perceived subjective qualities, as well as of how these cues are related to motoric gestural responses to music. The latter, thus far, have been underestimated as possible means for musical annotation and content description and need careful study.The development of an instrumental theory of musical content analysis is needed in view of a number of strategic applications, in particular audio-mining, interactive multimedia, and brain research. These applications are strategic because of their focus on content processing in the fields of electronic delivery and interactivity, and because of their relevance for very advanced studies of the human brain

This research has been supported by: Ghent University - GOA-projects