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A Multicultural Approach in Music Information Research

by Xavier Serra


Our information technologies do not respond to the world's multicultural reality; in fact, we are imposing the paradigms of our market-driven western culture also on IT, thus facilitating the access of a small part of the world’s information to a small part of the world's population. The current IT research efforts may even make it worse, and future IT will accentuate this information bias. Most IT research is being carried out with a western centered approach and as a result, most of our data models, cognition models, user models, interaction models, ontologies, etc., are culturally biased. This fact is quite evident in music information research, since, despite the world's richness in terms of musical culture, most research is centered on CDs and metadata of western commercial music. This is the motivation behind a large and ambitious project funded by the European Research Council entitled "CompMusic: Computational Models for the discovery of the world's music." In this paper we present the ideas supporting this project, the challenges that we want to work on, and the proposed approaches to tackle these challenges.

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