Music in jingju, a genre of Chinese traditional theatre usually known as Peking opera, was traditionally created by actors and actresses according to a series of orally transmitted conventions. One of these conventions, called shengqiang, concerns the melodic material used in a play, which is later rhythmically modified in the arias according to a series of metrical patterns called banshi. In his recently finished doctoral research, carried out in the framework of the CompMusic project at the Music Technology Group from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain), the ethnomusicologist Rafael Caro analyzed the concept of shengqiang from a computer aided musicology approach. The methodology proposed in his research consisted of a manual comparative analysis of a dataset of nearly 900 melodic lines extracted from a corpus of machine readable music scores, supported and expanded with computationally extracted statistical and quantitative data. This work is the result of a long process of negotiating methods and learning from each other process between the presenter, trained in ethnomusicology, and his fellow researchers from the field of music computing in the CompMusic project. In this presentation, Rafael Caro will introduce the methodology and results of his doctoral research as an illustration of the possibilities, challenges and limitations in the collaboration between (ethno)musicology and music computing.
Dr. Rafael Caro Repetto is a researcher at the Music Technology Group from Universitat Pompeu Fabra specialized in Chinese traditional music, with major focus on theatrical traditions. After several years of research on Chinese traditional music in several Chinese institutions in Beijing and Shanghai, he obtained a MMus in Ethnomusicology from SOAS, University of London, and a PhD in Humanities from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain). Recently, he is interested in the application of computational methods for musicological research and for aiding music education of foreign music traditions.