SMIR - Structural Music Information Research

smir_scheme_mathsmusic.jpg Moreno Andreatta (Principal Investigator)
CNRS Director of Research and Vice-President of the SMCM
Music Representation Team
1, place I. Stravinsky
F-75004 Paris
tel: +33 (0)1 44781649
e-mail : Moreno.Andreatta[at]

Invited Researcher at the University of Strasbourg
7, rue René Descartes
F-67000 Strasbourg
tel: ++33 (0)3 88 22 78 93
e-mail : andreatta[at]

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Structure of the project:

Short description:

Despite a long historical relationship between mathematics and music, the interest of mathematicians is a recent phenomenon. In contrast to statistical methods and signal-based approaches currently employed in Music Information Research, the SMIR project stresses the necessity of introducing a structural multidisciplinary approach into computational musicology making use of advanced mathematics. The project is based on the interplay between three main mathematical disciplines: algebra, topology and category theory. It therefore opens promising perspectives on important prevailing challenges, such as the automatic classification of musical styles or the solution of open mathematical conjectures, asking for new collaborations between mathematicians, computer scientists, musicologists, and composers.

The SMIR project also differs from traditional applications of mathematics to music in aiming to build bridges between different musical genres, ranging from contemporary art music to popular music, including rock, pop, jazz and chanson. It aims to create a unique research environment at the University of Strasbourg where mathematicians will collaborate with computer scientists, musicologists and composers. New structural mathematical methods based on algebra, topology and category theory are proposed in order to reveal musical properties, thus opening strategic research directions in computational musicology via a genuinely multidisciplinary approach. They will be integrated into a unique pedagogical software tool strongly reinforcing the scientific and pedagogical outreach. If mathematics has largely shown its power and generality in music theory and analysis, the SMIR project claims that the opposite also holds. Music can occupy a strategic place in the development of mathematics since music-theoretical constructions can be used to solve open mathematical problems.

The SMIR project will also contribute to the emergence of a new structural approach in the field of Music Information Research based on the interplay between different mathematical disciplines such as algebra, topology and category theory. It proposes to approach the computational aspects of musical processes in a unifying way by removing the boundaries between different genres and by paying equal attention to contemporary art music and popular music. The development of ad-hoc computer-aided environments is a necessary condition to enable the systematic comparison between theoretical constructions and computational models. This will not only open new forms of collaborations between mathematicians, computer scientists, musicologists and composers, but will also provide an important contribution to the emergence of new pedagogical approaches in “mathemusical” research which will help to spread this interdisciplinary research outside of the circle of specialists.

Main research axes:

Some references:


Some useful conference presentations:


Future events:

Past events:

(click to see Etienne Lécroart's animation done with bouboucle by Andréas Kündig and Ivan Gulizia)


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