“Google Scores”: SIMSSA at McGill

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Posted in Cultural Archives & Curation, Major Projects, Projects, Research, Texts & Languages, Tools Research


SIMSSA GraphicSingle Interface for Musical Score Searching and Analysis (or SIMSSA) is the brainchild of principal investigator Dr. Ichiro Fujinaga, who, along with Dr. Julie Cumming (McGill) , Dr. Laurent Pugin (RISM, Switzerland) and Dr. George Tzanetakis (University of Victoria), is developing what he calls “Google Books for music”. With the explosion of digitized musical material now available online, problems associated with locating and searching scores have also arisen. SIMSSA seeks to address these by providing a single, unified collection, searchable by highly functioning optical musical recognition (OMR) software.

Part of the Networked Environment for Musical Analysis, the SIMSSA project is funded with a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and involves researchers from the University of Victoria and Europe, in addition to those working at McGill.  Taking inspiration from text-analysis software, which uses optical character recognition (OCR) to search digitized versions of documents, one of the main goals of the project has been to develop and refine OMR software so that it can function across a variety of notational styles. The multi-functionality of this software places it far ahead of past systems, which were only able to search single forms of musical notation.

The expanding scope of SIMSSA may be seen in its affiliated projects, such as RODAN and ELVIS (already featured on this blog). RODAN is described by Dr. Fujinaga as a “do-it-yourself” tool for musical document analysis, requiring little more than a user’s chosen score and the web-based application. While several software tools are already available for download and use (Diva.js and others), Dr. Fujinaga and his team are in the process of developing a web-based interface, which would allow for crowd-sourced score collections to be stored, corrected and interacted with online.

SIMSSA applications and the project blog may be accessed at http://simssa.ca

Single Interface for Musical Score Searching and Analysis

PI: Ichiro Fujinaga
Schulich School of Music