Xavier Serra is awarded with an ERC Advanced Grant

Xavier Serra, Director of the Music Technology Group of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant to carry out a project related to multiculturalism and music technology.

The Advanced grants of the European Research Council promote innovative, 'blue sky' research, and are open to top scientist from any discipline. The project CompMusic by Xavier Serra has been funded with 2.5 million Euros and will last 5 years. Here is a brief summary of the project goals:

CompMusic: Computational models for the discovery of the world's music
Current IT research does not respond to the world's multi-cultural reality. It could be argued that we are imposing the paradigms of our market-driven western culture also on IT and that current IT research results will only facilitate the access of a small part of the world’s information to a small part of the world's population. Most IT research is being carried out with a western centred approach and as a result, our data models, cognition models, user models, interaction models, ontologies, … are all culturally biased. This fact is quite evident in music information research, since, despite the world's richness in musical cultures, most of the research is centred on CDs and metadata of our western commercial music. CompMusic wants to break this huge research bias. By approaching musical information modelling from a multicultural perspective it aims at advancing our state of the art while facilitating the discovery and reuse of the music produced outside the western commercial context. But the development of computational models to address the world’s music information richness cannot be done from the West looking out; we have to involve researchers and musical experts immersed in the different cultures. Their contribution is fundamental to develop the appropriate multicultural musicological and cognitive frameworks from which we should then carry our research on finding appropriate musical features, ontologies, data representations, user interfaces and user centred approaches. CompMusic will investigate some of the most consolidated non-western classical music traditions, Indian (hindustani, carnatic), Turkish-Arab (ottoman, andalusian), and Chinese (han), developing the needed computational models to bring their music into the current globalized information framework. Using these music cultures as case studies, cultures that are alive and have a strong influence in current society, we can develop rich information models that can take advantage of the existing information coming from musicological and cultural studies, from mature performance practice traditions and from active social contexts. With this approach we aim at challenging the current western centred information paradigms, advance our IT research, and contribute to our rich multicultural society.