I have to give a talk on Wednesday about tools for music informatics, with a particular slant towards things that might be useful for and usable by musicologists.

Conveniently, I've been burying my head in the sand allowing a backlog of unread messages on the music-ir (Information Retrieval) mailing list to accumulate, naggingly, in my *Group* buffer. So this evening I went through 200 or so of them to see whether there are any announcements of software, publications of data sets, discussion of tools, or similar.

Firstly, a high-level categorization of messages by topic: some of course fit in multiple categories. I have made no attempt to be rigorous about this; it is the fruit of a Sunday evening's scan.

  • research discussion (including surveys): 51
  • research meetings (calls for papers / participation): 52
  • open positions: 52
    • MSc: 4
    • PhD: 24
    • Post-doctoral Researcher: 21
    • Fellowship: 2
    • Intern: 3
    • real job: 2
  • community housekeeping: 20
  • datasets: 36
  • software announcements / discussion: 14

Much of the discussion about datasets was about the relative lack of them, or issues about their accessibility. However, four datasets were announced (or re-announced); they were:

Meanwhile, a number of feature extractors or feature extractor frameworks were mentioned; I picked up on big beasts such as Marsyas, jMIR and aubio, along with announcements for individual feature extractors such as segmenter-vamp-plugin, beatroot-vamp and pyin. In the discussion of the lack of data, Sonic Annotator Web Application was mentioned as a way of bringing analysis tools to audio data rather than the reverse; there was also a genuinely new announcement, about the open-sourcing of Essentia, a multi-extractor toolbox developed at the Music Technology Group at UPF Barcelona.

The other software in the period included two audio source separation projects: FASST, a toolbox, and ISSE, an interactive editor; possibly related (I haven't really tried it). There was also: a melody annotator and editor, tony, which looks interesting (and the project is doing open development of code and publications); a score follower, antescofo, which is entirely behind an IRCAM paywall, so I can't say anything more about it; a library for computing melodic similarity, and three mobile apps: a game, a game with a purpose, and a smart microphone widget.

All this is worth knowing, and it was a good exercise: if nothing else, my *Group* buffer looks less intimidating now. Whether it gets me much closer to a talk about music informatics tools for musicologists is another matter..