A Comparative Phylogenetic-Tree Analysis of African Timelines and North Indian Talas

Eric Thul and Godfried T. Toussaint
Bridges Leeuwarden: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2008)
Pages 187–194


North Indian talas (rhythmic timelines or ostinatos) are compared to Afro-American and African timelines, using several measures of rhythm dissimilarity with the goal of determining which measures are the best for use in phylogenetic algorithms. Such algorithms can be used for music information retrieval applications, culture-based musical rhythm classification, and determining a phylogeny of world rhythms. The results show that the dissimilarity measures proposed by Irfan et al. do not perform as well as previously suggested. However, this work also shows that their angle-distance measure produces equivalent results to the chronotonic-distance, which correlates well with human perception of rhythm dissimilarity. Thus this study adds validity to the angle-distance measure.