Jazz Score / Performance Database

Bryan Pardo, Josh Moshier


This work is funded by National Science Foundation Grant number IIS-0643752.

What if a program could tell locate a jazz musician's place on a lead sheet based on what they are playing?

Existing score following databases assume faithful performance of fully notated music. While current models may be effective for following notated "classical" music, they have little application for improvised music. Score following in jazz requires alignment of an improvised performance to a lead sheet, the basic template providing a song's melody, harmony and structural information. When playing standard jazz repertoire, it is not uncommon for jazz musicians to spontaneously alter aspects of the piece's pre-determined structure. With the best live jazz musicians, this spontaneous structural change would be seamless. A program that follows the form of a jazz performance would depend on a flexible model that parses musical content in anticipation of possible structural change.

We have created a database of MIDI recordings performed by professional Chicago jazz pianists using lead sheets.

These performers marked their performances with measure, beat and structural branch point information, encoded as MIDI data. A structural analysis of each performance has been created by a conservatory-trained professional jazz pianist. This database will be useful as training and validation data for a jazz score following program.

For more information, you may look at this poster.