Giant Steps In The Interpretation Of A Musical PDP Network

  • Joshua Hathaway University of Alberta
  • Michael R. W. Dawson


We first introduce the notion of chord progressions by describing a particular example (the II-V-I) that is related to the Coltrane changes. Second, we describe the Coltrane changes using a formalism derived from previous musical investigations with neural networks (Yaremchuk & Dawson, 2005, 2008). Finally, we describe how we trained a neural network to generate the Coltrane changes, how we analyzed its internal structure, and the implications of this interpretation. In particular, we discovered that a network represented transitions between chords in a fashion that could be described in terms of a new musical formalism that we had not envisioned. In short, this paper shows that the interpretation of the internal structure of a musical network can provide new formalisms for representing musical regularities, and can suggest new directions for representational research on musical cognition. 

Author Biography

Joshua Hathaway, University of Alberta
PhD Student, Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience)