SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Widdess, Richard and Finkensiep, Christoph and Rohrmeier, Martin (2019) 'Modelling the Syntax of North Indian Melodies With a Generalized Graph Grammar.' Proceedings of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval, 2019. (Forthcoming)

[img] Text - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Request a copy


Hierarchical models of music allow explanation of highly complex musical structure based on the general principle of recursive elaboration and a small set of orthogonal op- erations. Recent approaches to melodic elaboration have converged to a representation based on intervals, which al- lows the elaboration of pairs of notes. However, two prob- lems remain: First, an interval-first representation obscures one-sided operations like neighbor notes. Second, while models of Western melody styles largely agree on step- wise operations such as neighbors and passing notes, larger intervals are either attributed to latent harmonic properties or left unexplained. This paper presents a grammar for melodies in North Indian raga music, showing not only that recursively applied neighbor and passing note oper- ations underlie this style as well, but that larger intervals are generated as generalized neighbors, based on the tonal hierarchy of the underlying scale structure. The notion of a generalized neighbor is not restricted to ragas but can be transferred to other musical styles, opening new perspec- tives on latent structure behind melodies and music in gen- eral. The presented grammar is based on a graph represen- tation that allows one to express elaborations on both notes and intervals, unifying and generalizing previous graph- and tree-based approaches.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Indian music, raga, melody, music syntax, music analysis
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of Music
Copyright Statement: © Christoph Finkensiep, Richard Widdess, Martin Rohrmeier. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). Attribution: Christoph Finkensiep, Richard Widdess, Martin Rohrmeier. “Modelling the Syntax of North Indian Melodies with a Generalized Graph Grammar”, 20th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, Delft, The Netherlands, 2019.
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2019 11:29
Related URLs: (Organisation URL)

Altmetric Data

There is no Altmetric data currently associated with this item.


Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item