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Mozart's complete works analyzed

Our team focuses on research for Music Information Retrieval and thus on methods which enable automatic recognition of style, genre or composer of a piece of music or retrieval of similar music. Moreover, the information extracted by these methods forms the basis for novel ways of access to music collections.

For the Map of Mozart project we analyzed the complete works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart based on the audio content (rather than the musical notation). The computer is able to detect the main acoustic characteristics of each piece and attempts to organize the works by musical similarity. We use a novel type of Self-Organizing Maps (MnemonicSOM), an unsupervised learning algorithm, for organizing the pieces of music. The result is a map with different regions showing distinct categories of Mozart's music, with similar pieces being grouped close to each other. The map's shape has been chosen to resemble the shape of Mozart's head. The outcome is - a Map of Mozart.

The map arranges the operas written by Mozart in one specific area, while placing piano pieces in an opposite area. String ensembles, violin sonatas, serenades - each region of the Map of Mozart contains a group of works with specific characteristics, with smooth transitions between the groups. This visualization provides an immediate and intuitive overview of the complete works of Mozart. Furthermore, it enables interactive browsing of the Mozart archive and retrieval of additional information about the works of the world-famous artist.

This website contains an Online-Demo of the Map of Mozart. The web interface currently only features limited functionality: It provides different visualizations and the possibility for selecting areas of the map in order to retrieve information about the titles located there. Due to copyright reasons only a small collection of music files available from public domain or under the Open Audio License (from Wikipedia and Internet Archive) can be linked, allowing to get at least some impression of the acoustic organization. Further demos with different music collections are available from the PlaySOM demo page.

The PlaySOM application we developed provides extended functionality and enables a completely novel way of enjoying music: Playlists can be created by navigating and drawing paths on the map. This sort of interface allows the creation of personal playlists directly by selecting regions of one's personal taste, without having to browse a list of available titles and manually sorting them into playlists.

Additionally we developed the PocketSOMPlayer, which brings the Maps of Music to portable devices (PDAs, portable audio players, mobile phones). The quick creation of playlists to the user's taste definitely improves the experience of portable music.

Map of Mozart Team:
Andreas Rauber, Thomas Lidy, Rudolf Mayer

Ao.Univ.Prof. Andreas Rauber
Institute for Software Technology and Interactive Systems
Vienna University of Technology

Images & photos:

Press reports:

Further Information:
ifs Music Information Retrieval Website

PlaySOM Software
Map of Mozart
PlaySOM on a tablet PC
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