Professor Michael Casey, chair of the Department of Music and director of the Bregman Music and Audio Research Studio, has received a Faculty Research Award from Google Inc. The funding supports “Search by Groove,” a new music search engine that uses rhythm to find related recordings in large music collections.
Researchers developing a music search engine keyed to rhythm include, from left, principal investigator Michael Casey, professor of music and adjunct professor of computer science; Spencer Topel, lecturer and research assistant, Department of Music; and computer science PhD students Qingyuan Kong and Andy Sarroff. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
“Current search techniques are either non-musical—such as song title, artist name, or tags—or they rely on abstract, theoretical representations of music,” Casey observes. Envisioning the new project, he says, his research team considered, “What if we could search large collections of music by groove? We want understand the essence of what makes songs have a similar rhythmic feel. We will extract that essence using new machine hearing algorithms that we are developing for the project.”
The grant will facilitate close collaboration between the Department of Music, the Department of Computer Science, and Google Labs, and provide support for computer science PhD students who will work with Casey in the Bregman Laboratory. In addition to Casey, the research team includes Spencer Topel, lecturer and research assistant in the Department of Music, and computer science PhD students Qingyuan Kong and Andy Sarroff.
The Google Research Awards program identifies and supports world-class, full-time faculty pursuing research in areas of mutual interest. The intent of the awards program is to support academic research aimed at improving information access, defined broadly. Google Research Awards are unrestricted and Google retains no intellectual property from the research.
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