Information dynamics and aspects of musical perception

Shlomo Dubnov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Musical experience has been often suggested to be related to forming of expectations, their fulfillment or denial. In terms of information theory, expectancies and predictions serve to reduce uncertainty about the future and might be used to efficiently represent and compress data. In this chapter we present an information theoretic model of musical listening based on the idea that expectations that arise from past musical material are framing our appraisal of what comes next, and that this process eventually results in creation of emotions or feelings. Using a notion of information rate we can measure the amount of information between past and present in the musical signal on different time scales using statistics of sound spectral features. Several musical pieces are analyzed in terms of short and long term information rate dynamics and are compared to analysis of musical form and its structural functions. The findings suggest that a relation exists between information dynamics and musical structure that eventually leads to creation of human listening experience and feelings such as wow and aha.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Structure of Style
Subtitle of host publicationAlgorithmic Approaches to Understanding Manner and Meaning
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)9783642123368
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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