Modeling and Visualizing Tonality in North Indian Classical Music

author: Parag Chordia, Music Technology Group, Georgia Institute of Technology
published: Feb. 1, 2008,   recorded: December 2007,   views: 5524


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North Indian classical music (NICM) is based on raag, a melodic structure within which musicians improvise. Raags define hierarchical pitch relationships that can be described as tonal. The study of tonality in raag music may help to elucidate whether a cross-culturally valid cognitive model of tonal perception exists. We describe a basic model of tonality in raag music based on pitch-class distributions. We derive visualizations of tonal raag spaces based on self-organizing maps trained on pitch-class distributions calculated on actual performances, as well theoretically derived maps. We discuss implications of the theory and visualizations, as well as anticipated empirical verifications of the model.

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