Change the future

Friday 3:15 p.m.–3:45 p.m.

Music Theory and Performance Analysis with Sebastian and Czerny

James Tauber

Audience level:


This talk will discuss two open source projects for using Python for music analysis. Sebastian focuses on music theory while Czerny focuses on performance (particularly keyboard playing).


Sebastian can be used for constructing analyses of existing works as well as as a tool for aiding in composition. It enables musical elements such as notes, chords, rhythms and scales to be represented and manipulated in Python. Music composition and analysis then becomes a matter of dealing with Python data structures such as lists and dictionaries.

Czerny focuses on "diffing" a score (particularly things like piano exercises) with the actual performance (captured as a MIDI file, etc). This "diff" is used to assess problem areas and mistakes as well as better understand the subtle characteristics that make one performance different from another.

The code has also been used as part of an analysis of the Open Goldberg Variations project (