Partner profile: The Music Computing Lab at OU and the ACCESS Pilot

Dr. Simon Holland founder and director of the Music Computing Lab at Open University introduces their fascinating work and the ACCESS Pilot

Photo by Stéphane Bernard on Unsplash
28 April 2021

The Music Computing Lab at The Open University is a research lab focused on empowering musicians, illuminating musical activities, and modelling music perception and cognition. Our research draws on musicology, neuropsychology, ethnography, pervasive technology, wearables, haptics and machine learning. Our work is innovation-driven. For example, we have recently developed tools to foster creativity in expert drummers, a new graphical music programming language for non-musicians and new forms of nonlinear expressive interaction for digital musicians, among many other interesting projects. Since 2010, the lab has attracted external research funding totalling around £4.5 million, supervised seventeen PhD students to completion, hosted around twenty research interns, and published over 160 refereed articles. 

Our research on wearable haptics and music has led to exciting collaborations with the major theatre and music events such as Stables Theatre and the Milton Keynes International Festival. We teamed up to find new ways to promote the inclusion of people with physical, learning and sensory disabilities, such as profound deafness, both as audiences and performers. Since 2014, our lab has started investigating medical applications of our research. In this framework, our haptic wearables that were designed for coordinating the limb movement of drummers became key tools for improving the mobility of people with stroke, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy and Huntington’s disease. In Polifonia, we are bringing our expertise and experience to the #ACCESS pilot. In this use-case, we co-design, develop and evaluate wearable haptic technology to enable people who are Deaf or hearing impaired to engage as audience members in live performances.

Photo by Stéphane Bernard on Unsplash

Recent News

Polifonia is known for its strong links with academia and is pleased to present some highlights in its involvement in research and associated conferences.

Polifonia is known for its strong links with academia and is pleased to present some highlights in its…

29 February 2024

In 2024, Paul Mulholland, Naomi Barker and Paul Warren (The Open University, U.K) are continuing their experiment investigating how different kinds of music influence the appreciation of an artwork; and to what extent the same kind of sense-making processes are used when viewing artwork and when listening to music. To do this, the researchers are looking for more participants. They have now automated the process so that participants can complete the experiment online without the involvement of an experimenter.

Music instrument with music notes on white background illustration In 2024, Paul Mulholland, Naomi…

17 January 2024

During the last project meeting, the Polifonia consortium extensively discussed how to foster the impact of the project in academia and beyond. How to make the output of Polifonia sustainable after the lifetime of the project is one important aspect. But fostering re-usability does not end by long-term preservation of certain assets (such as data and tools). In Polifonia Research Ecosystem – Impact of a project. A webinar on Data re-use and workflows, we will discuss how we ensure that more fluid assets such as interfaces, but also experiences in setting up and executing workflows via those interfaces, become reproducible and reuseable.

During the last project meeting, the Polifonia consortium extensively discussed how to foster the impact…

15 January 2024

For the Polifonia project, the Central Institute for Cataloging and Documentation (ICCD) of the Italian Ministry of Culture is carrying out activities on the historical bell heritage. The ICCD has also initiated a process of documentation of the practices and knowledge associated with bell production through collaboration with historical Italian foundries.

The bell casting process performed by the Pontifical Marinelli Foundry. Photo courtesy of ICC For…

9 January 2024

One of the tools Polifonia will release is MELODY. It stands for ‘Make mE a Linked Open Data StorY’ and is a place where you can make sense of Linked Open Data and publish text-based as well as visual data stories. Earlier this year, students of the University of Bologna explored data through this tool. Let’s see what they have found and learned about… rock music.

One of the tools Polifonia will release is MELODY. It stands for 'Make mE a Linked Open Data StorY'…

13 December 2023

Music libraries currently lack well-founded information retrieval tools. While it is relatively easy to find music based on metadata, content-based music retrieval still remains as a challenge. The Polifonia FACETS pilot aims to tackle this challenge by building a faceted search engine (FSE) for large collections of music documents.

Music libraries currently lack well-founded information retrieval tools. While it is relatively easy…

24 November 2023

This is a week of major importance to the Polifonia team, as its researchers join both the conference of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) and the conference for the International Semantic Web and Linked Data Community (ISWC): venues of significant importance for both research and industry. Read more about Polifonia’s contributions below.

This is a week of major importance to the Polifonia team, as its researchers join the conference of…

7 November 2023

On Oct, 13 an explorative workshop took place in a school in Milton Keynes (UK) as part of the Polifonia project. The “Music Meets Machines workshop” gave a look into cutting-edge technologies used to represent music history.

On Oct, 13 an explorative workshop took place in a school in Milton Keynes (UK) as part of the Polifonia…

3 November 2023

Between 16 and 20 October, the Polifonia consortium met in the Italian city of Bologna, home of the project coordinator University of Bologna (UNIBO). During an intensive week, the project team took steps in the development of the pilots, including the long-awaited web portal. Read more about the 7th project meeting here.

Between 16 and 20 October, the Polifonia consortium met in the Italian city of Bologna, home of the…

27 October 2023

The sensory journey “Data Wanderings” is a new project of Polifonia. The art installation will open on Friday, Oct. 13, in Bologna, Italy and you can visit it until the 28th of the month.

The sensory journey "Data Wanderings" is a new project of Polifonia. The art installation will open…

12 October 2023

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N. 101004746