Open questions on tonality perception and construction in non-Western vocal music
(OR what makes singing so difficult for automatic analysis)¶
Polina Proutskova, Olga Velichkina¶
We provide a critical evaluation of existing computational approaches for automatic transcription and pitch class analysis applied to our corpus of ethnomusicological recordings of vocal music from Russia. It leads to questioning basic assumptions about the perception of musical content in vocal music, on which these tools were built.
Through qualitative analysis of independent transcriptions of our ethnomusicological recordings we compiled a comprehensive classification of the challenges and disagreements encountered by the transcribers. These challenges are not specific to Russian tradition and agree with the experience from experiments in other cultures. Based on these challenges we formulated open questions about the perception of pitch structure in vocal music, which address their underlying reasons. We present hypotheses about possible reasons for the challenges and list potential next steps.