Thank you for visiting my portfolio page. Here you can find information about me and my work, which includes publications on music, actual music, and software.
I am currently a full-time funded doctoral student at The Open University, in Milton Keynes, UK. I am in the Computing Department, developing bottom-up models of music perception under the supervision of Robin Laney and David B. Sharp. Previously, I studied for my Master's degree in Music, Mind, and Technology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, under the supervision of Petri Toiviainen and Tuomas Eerola. Prior to that I worked in a variety of jobs including commercial bid management and freelance film sound recording. I completed my Bachelor's degree in Fine Art at Psalter Lane Art College, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.
One of my research interests is music cognition, with a focus on building computational models of how we, as humans, respond to tonal-harmonic music. For example, can acoustical features help explain the perceived affinity of different pairs of chords, or why successions of tones, chords, and keys, induce feelings of expectation and resolution. And, to what extent can such models explain tonal music's richly emotional and expressive capabilities?
I am also interested in exploring how alternative tunings and tones with non-harmonic partials open up the possibility of alternative, but still perceptually grounded, systems of tonality. Dynamic Tonality—developed by myself, Bill Sethares, Jim Plamondon, and Anthony Prechtl—is an audio synthesis and control framework that helps musicians to explore novel tunings, scales and timbres using a small number of intuitive parameters. We provide a free software resource at www.dynamictonality.com.
You can download my CV here.
The list below gives my principal publications. Additional material can be found in the Talks and Teaching Documents sections on my Academia.edu site.
Milne, A. J., Laney, R., and Sharp, D. B. (2013). A bottom-up model of the probe tone data: Towards a template-independent theory of tonality. Manuscript under review at Music Perception.
Milne, A. J., Laney, R., and Sharp, D. B. (2012). Melodic affinity: Nature or nurture? Manuscript under review at Music Perception.
Prechtl, A., Milne, A. J., Holland, S., Laney, R., and Sharp, D. B. (2012). A MIDI sequencer that widens access to the compositional possibilities of novel tunings. Computer Music Journal, 36(1):42–54.
Milne, A. J., Sethares, W. A., Laney, R., and Sharp, D. B. (2011). Modelling the similarity of pitch collections with expectation tensors. Journal of Mathematics and Music, 5(1):1–20.
Sethares, W. A., Milne, A. J., Tiedje, S., Prechtl, A., and Plamondon, J. (2009). Spectral tools for Dynamic Tonality and audio morphing. Computer Music Journal, 33(2):71–84.
Milne, A. J., Sethares, W. A., and Plamondon, J. (2008). Tuning continua and keyboard layouts. Journal of Mathematics and Music, 2(1):1–19.
Milne, A. J., Sethares, W. A., and Plamondon, J. (2007). Isomorphic controllers and Dynamic Tuning: Invariant fingering over a tuning continuum. Computer Music Journal, 31(4):15–32.
Milne, A. J., Carlé, M., Sethares, W. A., Noll, T., and Holland, S. (2011). Scratching the scale labyrinth. In Agon, C., Amiot, E., Andreatta, M., Assayag, G., Bresson, J., and Mandereau, J., editors, Mathematics and Computation in Music—MCM 2011, volume 6726 of LNAI, pages 180–195, Berlin Heidelberg. Springer-Verlag.
Milne, A. J., Xambó, A., Laney, R., Sharp, D. B., Prechtl, A., and Holland, S. (2011). Hex player—a virtual musical controller. In Jensenius, A. R. and Godøy, R. I., editors, Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME11), pages 244–247 Oslo, Norway.
Milne, A. J. (2010). Tonal music theory: A psychoacoustic explanation? In Demorest, S. M., Morrison, S. J., and Campbell, P. S., editors, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, pages 597–600, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Milne, A. J., Sethares, W. A., Laney, R., and Sharp, D. B. (2010). Metrics for pitch collections. In Demorest, S. M., Morrison, S. J., and Campbell, P. S., editors, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, pages 77–80, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Milne, A. J. (2009). A psychoacoustic model of harmonic cadences: A preliminary report. In Louhivuori, J., Eerola, T., Saarikallio, S., Himberg, T., and Eerola, P., editors, ESCOM 2009 Proceedings, pages 328–337, Jyväskylä, Finland.
Milne, A. J. and Prechtl, A. (2008). New tonalities with the Thummer and The Viking. In Crossan, A. and Kaaresoja, T., editors, Proceedings of the 3rd International Haptic and Auditory Interaction Design Workshop, volume 2, pages 20–22, Jyväskylä, Finland.
Milne, A. J., Prechtl, A. (2010). 2032—A physical modelling synthesizer for Dynamic Tonality. Presentation and demo at Digital Music Research Network (DMRN +5). Queen Mary University, London, UK.
Milne, A. J., Prechtl, A., Laney, R., Sharp, D. B. (2010). Spectral pitch distance and microtonal melodies. Poster presented at the 11th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Milne, A. J. (2008, October 18). A psychoacoustic model of harmonic cadences. Paper presented at the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE) Student Conference, Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge, UK.
Milne, A. J. (2009). A psychoacoustic model of harmonic cadences. Master's Thesis, University of Jyväskylä, Department of Music, Jyväskylä. Supervised by Petri Toiviainen.
Milne, A. J., Sethares, W. A., & Plamondon, J. (2006). X_System. Commissioned report, Thumtronics Inc.
This section comprises music I have written, improvised, and performed. Numerous other examples of my work can be found on soundcloud.com/andrew-j-milne. I also engineered, mixed, and mastered all of these examples with the exception of Yak Butter, where those duties were performed by Jim Hoyland.
These are two pieces taken from a suite of music collectively improvised for an art exhibition by Susannah Montgomery. I created an interesting recording setup—a multiplicity of instruments (guitars, bass, 'cello, saxes, drums, piano, accordion, melodica, various percussions) were arranged in a circle at the centre of which were two ribbon mics in a Blumlein configuration. Around the circle were a number of outward pointing instrument mics feeding into effects units and then into monitors pointing towards the central ribbon mics—great use was made of a lovely vintage Roland tape echo machine. The musicians were free to wander between instruments and adjust the effects units. Christine Collister (voice, etc.), Brad McCloud (drums, etc.), Iggy Harling (bass, cello, guitar, voice, keys, etc.), Andrew Milne (keys, guitar, bass, etc.), Andy Montgomery (saxes, cello, voice, etc.).
I have written and improvised music for two independent short films. The piece below is taken from My Last Winter directed by Guy Passmore. It was collectively improvised having just watched rough cuts from the movie. The musicians are Christine Collister (voice), Brad McCloud (drums), Andrew Milne (keys and guitar), Andy Montgomery (sax).
I have formed a number of gigging rock/post-rock bands. I am interested in the intersection of improvised and written music, and much of my music mixes these two modes of creation. Backstreet is a reconstruction and rearrangement of what was originally a free improvisation, Nectar and Ambrosia is a completely free improvisation. The musicians are Christine Collister (voice, etc.), Brad McCloud (drums), Andrew Milne (keys and guitar), Andrew Montgomery (saxes, etc.), and additionally Iggy Harling (bass) on Nectar and Ambrosia.
I have recently become interested in the compositional possibilities afforded by microtonal scales—they provide novel sets of constraints within which the composer or performer can direct their creativity. One of the great difficulties with composing and performing such music is that almost all current musical interfaces are designed to work effectively only with tunings similar to 12-tone equal temperament. In collaboration with Anthony Prechtl, Bill Sethares, and Jim Plamondon, I have written a number of software tools to facilitate the use of microtonal tunings. These are available, as freeware, on the Dynamic Tonality website (see below).
In the video below, a small group improvise on my piece Yak Butter. It is in a microtonal temperament called porcupine. The musicians are Vassilis Angelis (drums), Maxime Canelli (guitar), Simon Holland ('cello), Andrew Milne (QWERTY). It uses a 7-tone well-formed scale (1 large and 6 small steps). I used the Dynamic Tonality synths 2032 and TransFormSynth, played through Relayer, which converts the QWERTY keyboard into musical keyboard with a layout appropriate for the scale used.
Magic Traveller is a "sketch"—an experiment to see if it is possible to utilize familiar musical techniques (triadic harmony connected by smooth voice-leading, and a few simple modulations) within an unfamiliar tuning system. I also performed this piece live in Jyväskylä, with additional oud and drums. It's in the magic temperament, and is based on a ten-tone well-formed scale (3 large, 7 small steps) with a couple of modulations. It was written and performed on a Thummer, and uses the Dynamic Tonality synth The Viking. The MIDI was sequenced in SONAR.
I have designed, written, and co-written, Max/MSP applications that facilitate the performance and composition of microtonal music. These applications are available, as freeware, on the Dynamic Tonality website. (Dynamic Tonality—developed by myself, Bill Sethares, Jim Plamondon, and Anthony Prechtl—is an audio synthesis and control framework that helps musicians to explore novel tunings, scales and timbres using a small number of intuitive parameters.) I have also written a number of MATLAB routines, whose purpose is to model perception of music.
Dynamic Tonality Software
Relayer. Enables musicians who play the AXiS-49, the QWERTY keyboard, or the Thummer, to play in a wide variety of isomorphic note layouts and microtonal tunings. It utilizes my novel theory of APS layouts, which ensures scales follow a simple spatial pattern (Milne et al, 2011; Prechtl et al., 2012). By A. J. Milne (first released in 2011).
Hex. A MIDI sequencer that uses a two-dimensional lattice, instead of a piano roll, to make the sequencing of microtonal music as straightforward as it is for 12-tone equal temperament. I invented and prototyped Hex in 2007, after realizing that all isomorphic note layouts have a pitch axis that can be oriented vertically (like a piano roll), regardless of the underlying tuning (Milne et al., 2008; Milne et al, 2011; Prechtl et al., 2012). By A. J. Milne and A. Prechtl (first released in 2010).
2032. A physical modelling (modal) synthesizer, where the tuning of tones and their partials can be independently and dynamically altered with a small number of intuitive controls. By A. Prechtl and A. J. Milne (first released in 2009).
TransFormSynth. An analysis-resynthesis synthesizer where the tuning of tones and their partials can be independently and dynamically altered with a small number of intuitive controls (Sethares et al., 2008). By W. A. Sethares, Stefan Tiedje, Andrew Milne, Anthony Prechtl (first released in 2008).
The Viking. An additive-subtractive synthesizer where the tuning of tones and their partials can be independently and dynamically altered with a small number of intuitive controls. This was the first Dynamic Tonality synthesizer and is detailed in (Milne and Prechtl, 2008). By A. Prechtl and A. J. Milne (first released in 2008).
Context-Probe Similarity. These comprise two routines—one is a bottom-up (psychoacoustic) model of Krumhansl's probe tone data (tonal hierarchies); the other extends this to model the tonicity of any chord or pitch class given a scale (or other pitch class set). By A. J. Milne (first released in 2012).
Melodic Affinity Model. The model of melodic affinity described in the paper Melodic Affinity: Nature or Nurture? (currently under review at Music Perception). By A. J. Milne (first released in 2012).
PitchMetrics. A package of MATLAB routines to calculate the pitch domain distance between pitch collections (such as chords, melodies, scales, tunings, virtual pitches, or spectral pitches). By A. J. Milne and W. A. Sethares (first released in 2011).
This site is designed and maintained by Andrew Milne. Please email me if you have any questions: andymilne [ a t ] tonalcentre [ d o t ] org