Eleanor Selfridge-Field


Consulting Professor, Music and Symbolic Systems

esfield (at) stanford.edu

  • Braun Music Center #129
  • 541 Lasuen Mall
  • Stanford University
  • Stanford, CA 94305-3076 USA
  • +1 650 725-9242

Research Links

Teaching Links

Musical Data Resources

  • MuseData (encoded scores, mainly orchestral)
  • Themefinder (fuzzy search of 100,000 musical incipits: folk, classical, Renaisssance)
  • KernScores (encoded scores for analysis and visualization, classical, mainly keyboard)

Personal Statement

At the Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities (CCARH) at Stanford University we have been developing open-source repositories of musical scores for more than two decades. Our emphasis is on classical music. We conduct ongoing research on data design, access, query, analysis, and transformations into graphics and sound. My specialties are music representation, data interchange, musical data-query methods, and musical data as intellectual property. Since 2011 CCARH has been an affiliate of the Packard Humanities Institute. The Center attracts visiting researchers from all over the world.

My research in music and cultural history continues, particularly on cultural influences (and constraints) on scientific enquiry. This was the subject of my book Song and Season. Information from the manuscript news-sheets provided the foundation for the resulting New Chronology of Venetian Opera (awarded the 2008 Distinguished Bibliography Prize of the Modern Language Association). The rise and fall of manuscript news-sheets prefigured the today's conflicts between print, online publications, and third-party aggregations. My current historical research is focused on Vivaldi and German-Italian topics.

Among these seemingly disparate fields of enquiry I find growing symbiosis, particularly through cognitive studies and unanswered questions about music as intellectual property. Musical informatics depends largely on concepts from music theory as tailored to the world of information, but qualitative pursuits turn to cognitive studies for direction. The practical needs of the online world are frequently confronted by copyright conundrums, some of which were anticipated by disputes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Because musical data is significantly more complex (and decomposable) than earlier manifestations, its "ownership" poses profound questions of musical identity and intellectual property.

Last updated: 16 July 2015