Complex Systems

Segmentation and Context of Literary and Musical Sequences Download PDF

Damián H. Zanette
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas,
Centro Atómico Bariloche and Instituto Balseiro,
8400 Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina


We test a segmentation algorithm based on calculating the Jensen-Shannon divergence between probability distributions, on two symbolic sequences of literary and musical origin. The first sequence represents the successive appearance of characters in a theatrical play, and the second represents the succession of tones from the twelve-tone scale in a keyboard sonata. The algorithm divides the sequences into segments of maximal compositional divergence between them. For the play, these segments are related to changes in the frequency of appearance of different characters and in the geographical setting of the action. For the sonata, the segments correspond to tonal domains and reveal in detail the characteristic tonal progression of such musical compositions.