Using Visualizations for Music Discovery

As Ben pointed out last week, the ISMIR  site has posted the tutorial schedule for ISMIR 2009.  I’m happy to see that the tutorial that Justin Donaldson and I proposed was accepted.  Our tutorial is called Using Visualizations for Music Discovery.  Here’s the abstract:

As the world of online music grows, tools for helping people find new and interesting music in these extremely large collections become increasingly important.  In this tutorial we look at one such tool that can be used to help people explore large music collections: data visualization.  We survey the state-of-the-art in visualization for music discovery in commercial and research systems. Using numerous examples, we explore different algorithms and techniques that can be used to visualize large and complex music spaces, focusing on the advantages and the disadvantages of the various techniques.   We investigate user factors that affect the usefulness of a visualization and we suggest possible areas of exploration for future research.

I’m excited about this tutorial – mainly because I get to work with Justin on it. He’s a really smart guy who really knows the state-of-the-art in visualizations. I’ll just be tagging along for the ride.

Detail from Genealog of Pop/Rock Music

Detail from Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music

We  are in the survey phase of talk preparation now. We’ve been gathing info on various types of visualizations and tagging them with the delicious tag MusicVizIsmir2009.  Feel free to tag along (pun intended) with us and tag items that you encounter that you feel may be particularly interesting, unique or salient.


  1. #1 by Ben on March 28, 2009 - 11:16 am

    Do you know of the ruben’s tube? Certainly one of the more exotic forms of music signal visualization I’ve ever encountered:

  2. #2 by Oscar Celma on March 30, 2009 - 10:00 pm


    Looking forward to see the evolution that this area has had since ISMIR 2005 Tutorial – Visualization for Music Information Retrieval (Stephan Baumann)

    Click to access Baumann-ISMIR05Tutorial.pdf

    Cheers, Oscar

  3. #3 by Malcolm on March 31, 2009 - 3:07 pm

    And people can take the morning tutorial on “MIR at the scale of the web,” which promises to be equally good :-)

    • #4 by plamere on March 31, 2009 - 3:09 pm

      Indeed malcolm, I’m really looking forward to that session too. That is a topic that is near and dear to my heart (and to everyone else here at the ‘nest)

  4. #5 by KurtJx on April 1, 2009 - 10:46 am

    recently gave a poster re: a graph layout algorithm and it’s application as a music discovery interface…

    _really_ would like to attend the tutorial but seems i’ll be busy at the time presenting my own tutorial on music in the web of data ;-)

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