Cross entropy as a measure of musical contrast

Laney, Robin; Samuels, Robert and Capulet, Emilie (2015). Cross entropy as a measure of musical contrast. In: Collins, Tom; Meredith, David and Volk, Anja eds. Mathematics and Computation in Music. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (9110). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, pp. 193–198.



We present a preliminary study of using the information theoretic concept of cross-entropy to measure musical contrast in a symbolic context, with a focus on melody. We measure cross-entropy using the Information Dynamics Of Music (IDyOM) framework. Whilst our long term aim is to understand the use of contrast in Sonata form, in this paper we take a more general perspective and look at a broad spread of Western art music of the common practice era. Our results suggest that cross-entropy has a useful role as an objective measure of contrast, but that a fuller picture will require more work.

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