The International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) organizes the annual conference that focuses on advancing the accessibility, organization and processing of musical information. Due to COVID-19, the gathering will be digital, from October 11 to October 15. Still, we’re looking forward to this year’s edition.

We love ISMIR. This event reminds us of the birth of our company. Chordify’s first beta version was launched during this event that took place in Porto in 2012. So every time around October, we start to feel those birthday vibes in our bellies — that’s why we sponsor the conference. Too bad we won’t be able to visit Montreal. It would have definitely been awesome. But hey, thank God for the internet, right? 

ISMIR 2020

The ISMIR conference is held annually and is the world’s leading research forum on processing, searching, organizing and accessing music-related data. As a non-profit organization ISMIR brings together scientists that come from disparate fields. They are challenged to collaborate. The goal? Find diverse ways of developing the study of musical information.

This may sound vague, so let’s try to make it a bit more tangible. If you’re setting up a music service that helps people play the songs they love, you need a couple of masterminds. Not only from the tech field but also from other areas of expertise like psychology, neuroscience, engineering, design, and the list goes on. In other words, this is the place where all the parallel science universes meet, and where interesting ideas originate.

Chordify x ISMIR

Like we already said, Chordify has a special connection with ISMIR. In 2012, we launched our beta version at the conference. Last year, we showcased our new research concerning semi-automatic enhancement of beat tracking. (Pretty fun stuff, check out our blog post about Chordify at ISMIR 2019.) This year, we’re sponsoring the event, and the Women in MIR part in particular. So there are a lot of cool presentations that we’re looking forward to. Below, we highlight a few.

Chordify’s ISMIR 2020 highlights

How about “Taking on Big Tech: New Paradigms for New Possibilities,” a talk by Dr. Safiya Noble. Noble is a scientist from the University of California in Los Angeles who has just published her book “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.” In her talk, she reflects critically on the idea that big tech offers an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities and activities.

Another talk definitely worth checking out is “Beyond the Current Conception of Musical Performance in MIR” by the Brooklyn College scientist Johanna Devaney. Devaney will discuss what we can observe in the audio signal of musical performance and where music information retrieval techniques have succeeded, and failed, in enhancing our understanding of musical performance.

Digital access

We are all homebound this year, so ISMIR will be fully digital. So, buy a ticket and spare yourself the hustle and bustle of flying all the way to Canada, staying in a hotel and getting lost in Montreal. Yeah, we know, we miss the adventure too. On the other hand, it’s kind of nice to check out all these neat talks, meets and new music from the comfort of our own living room. We hope you join us in Montreal but not really in Montreal. Happy jamming!

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Teo creates content, which means he writes, a lot, about music, and all things interesting. When it comes to jamming, his weapon of choice is the bass guitar.